Friday, May 7, 2010

Indian-origin MPs shine at The UK General Election 2010

The UK general election has just finished. This year’s election is important for many reasons. This will be England’s first hung parliament since 1974 as any party failed to win the majority seats in the parliament. Among the candidates this year, 89 are of Asian origin which is a new record. In the last election, there were 68 candidates of Asian origin, out of which 15 had been elected MPs which remained the highest number of ethnic minority MPs till date. Let’s hope that this record will also be broken in the 2010 General Election.

Rushanara Ali has become the first MP of Bangladesh origin. She competed in Bethnal Green and Bow constituency and secured 21,792 votes.

The election also saw MPs of Indian origin as well. For the first time, in the history of the UK general election, brother-sister duo Keith Vaz and Valerie Vaz were elected as MPs. Both of them are of Indian origin and both of them competed from Labour party. Keith Vaz competed in the Leicester East constituency. He defeated conservative candidate, Jane Hunt, and Liberal Democrat candidate, Ali Asghar. For the sixth time, Keith Vaz has been reelected from Leicester East. Since 1987 he has been an MP representing Leicester East. This time, he received 53.76% of the vote totalling 25,804 votes which is more than 1000 votes compared to the votes he received in the 2005 General Election. Indian movie star, Sanjay Dutt campaigned for Vaz.

Keith Vaz’s older sister, former TV presenter, Valerie Vaz, has been elected from the Walsall South constituency. Valerie Vaz replaced Bruce George who had held the seat since 1974.

Another Indian woman, Priti Patel, who stood from Conservative Party, had been elected from the Witham constituency. Patel was introduced to politics by former Conservative leader, Cecil Parkinson. Her parents were originally from Gujarat. For the first time, two women of Indian origin have been elected to the House of Commons.Vaz and Patel also became the fist female MPs of Asian origin in the history of House of Commons.

Virendra Sharma and Marsha Singh are among other Indian-origin candidates to win the election.Virendra Sharma retained his seat in the Ealing Southall constituency by defeating another Indian origin candidate, Tory’s Gurcharan Singh. Sharma received 22,024 votes while Gurcharan Singh received 12,733 votes. Virendra Sharma was first elected as MP from Ealing Southall in July 2007. It was a by-election held after the death of the Labour MP Piara Khabra.

Marsha Singh has been elected from Bradford West by getting 18,401 votes. He beat

conservative candidate, Zahid Iqbal, who received 12,638 votes. In 1997, Marsha Singh was first elected as MP for Bradford West.

Another Indian-origin conservative candidate, Paul Uppa, replaced Labour MP, Rob Marris, at the Wolverhampton Southwest constituency. Uppa defeated Paul by 691 votes. The city of Wolverhampton houses the largest Sikh communities in Britain.

Alok Sharma, another Indian-origin candidate, won at Reading West, an area where Labour party has been winning for more than a decade.

Shailesh Vara who compete in the election for Conservatives won the seat at Cambridgeshire North West. This is his second win. He received 50% of the total votes and also increased his majority to 17,000 from just under 10,000 in 2005.

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