Last night it was confirmed the Labour candidate would be Cllr Virendra Sharma after the Labour Selection Panel, including Keith Vaz MP and Tom Watson MP decided on a remarkably short list, of two men on Tuesday afternoon. It is reported that fellow Labour MPs like Fiona Mactaggart were furious with the outcome and made their views known with the new Party Chair, Harriet Harman.The Labour Party had already announced in March that it would adopt an all women’s short list with the front runner being Sonika Nirwal. However, as this was a by election and a candidate for Ealing Southall had yet to be announced to replace Piara Khabra, when he stepped down, his untimely death provided the Labour Party with an opportunity to open up the selection process.
The Labour Selection Panel reduced the estimated number of applicants for this safe Labour seat from perhaps as many as 100 to eight candidates on Monday evening. Publicly there were two fairly powerful lobbies – one to ensure a woman was selected and the other to get a Sikh into the Commons, preferably a turban wearing Sikh. It is understood two of the eight on the long list were women – Sonika Nirwal and Jasbir Anand. Seven of the eight were Sikh, with three
turban wearing Sikhs, including Cllr Gurcharan Singh who was widely acknowledged as the person with most support within the local Labour Party membership that would ultimately determine who represented them. Most, but not all, on the long list were local candidates. As there were candidates on the long list that were not local some are asking why excellent candidates, like Dr Harkirtan Singh, who has been short listed before in Denton and Reddish, were excluded on this occasion.After interviews on Tuesday the Labour Selection Panel surprisingly only named two on the short list to take part in hustings that evening and who
would be put to the local Labour Party membership. The hustings on Tuesday night were only for local Labour Party members and reports suggest they proved quite tense as there were many who were upset at the short list. The absence of a woman or turban wearing Sikh in the short list were two of the main concerns.
It has been reported that the Selection Panel wanted somebody similar to the Conservative candidate Tony Lit – “an Asian man with a ‘clean cut’ image”. However, it is been unofficially suggested that part of the thinking was that Sonika Nirwal and Gurcharan Singh had some sort of skeletons in the cupboard that the opposition parties might exploit in the by election. Similar
allegations could be made against the candidate selected, but only time will
tell what tactics and information the opposition parties use. It is interesting that Labour has chosen to keep media coverage of its chosen candidate very quiet.As Labour has failed to allow a woman or turbaned Sikh to be in the short list there is a risk that an independent Labour candidate will now stand. Labour has brought this on itself. It has also not been lost on the Sikh community in Ealing Southall and throughout the UK that young Sikh professionals have been overlooked for the one ageing non-Sikh on the long list.
I reckon this is going to be the dirtiest by-election campaign in living memory. And if you want proof, I'm about to post something else which should show you the kind of tactics the Labour Party intends to use.
Dirtiest byelection in history, well it's still got to catch up with Bermondsey in 1983 first.
The Sikh Federation (Uk) is a small but noisy militant group, quite unrepresentative of the wider Sikh community. More here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article404969.ece
Dirtiest byelection in history? You haven't been to many, have you Iain?
Maybe that's why no one will select you. I know just how much CAs like to see someone who has done hard work.
"I've got a blog" doesn't really cut it!
One does hope that all interests are being closely monitored for this by-election, that registrations have been properly filed, and that all donations are being properly scrutinized.
With NuLabs history of lies, corruption and sleaze it needs careful attention here.
Ths Sikh Federation (UK) will not be putting up an independent candidate. Although the Federation is popularly known as the 'first and only Sikh political party in the UK', we merely encourage Sikhs to become members of the main political parties and participate in mainstream political life. We are on record as saying we would never put up our own candidate under our name.
In this case we have heard rumours of an independent Labour candidate. All will be revealed tomorrow.
We merely state in the Press Release:
'As Labour has failed to allow a woman or turbaned Sikh to be in the short list there is a risk that an independent Labour candidate will now stand. Labour has brought this on itself.'
Sikh Federation (UK)
'Ranjit' is scaremongering. The person that made the comment to The Times, wrote to the Sikh Federation (UK) to apologise and said he was mis-quoted.
Rather than read the Times read the following, it is far more relevant:
The Sikh Federation (UK) since being established in September 2003.
UK Govt praises work of Sikh Federation
Wednesday 13th of September 2006
Gurjeet Singh, National Press Secretary, Sikh Federation (UK)
London, UK - As the Sikh Federation (UK) prepares for its fourth annual National Sikh Convention to take place at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton on Sunday 17 September, the UK Government has given its clearest public indication yet of its appreciation and respect for the work of the Federation in representing Britain’s Sikh community.
The Federation was launched 3 years ago and has come a long way since Oliver Letwin MP, the Shadow Home Secretary used the words below at the National Sikh Convention in September 2003.
‘It is excellent news that the Convention today has announced the creation of a new national Sikh organisation, the Sikh Federation (UK). It is good that you have decided to work with the mainstream parties. As a cohesive organisation you will have a better chance of achieving not just proper recognition of Sikhs, but a host of other objectives.
The announcement of the establishment of the Sikh Federation (UK) is good news for Sikhs and good news for Britain. You are showing a determination to act as a cohesive force. You are bringing the Sikh community together to ensure that you are best placed to work with the grain of political and social institutions in this country. The work that you do has never been more important. By organising this event today and coming here in such vast numbers you are showing your commitment to public life and a determination to lead by example.’
The Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP, the Chair of the Labour Party, in a letter received by the Federation a few days ago states:
‘May I commend the work of the Sikh Federation (UK), and thank you for all that you do. You have the respect of Government Ministers because of the seriousness and diligence you bring to your work of representing Britain’s Sikh community. In that, you are a model for others to emulate.’
Many see this as a potential turning point and recognition for the considerable local and national lobbying on behalf of the Sikhs by the Federation over the last few years. However, Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Federation, said: “These are challenging times for the Sikh community in the UK and abroad. The work we do on behalf of the Sikh community needs greater professionalism and resources to take us to new levels in the coming years. This represents an excellent opportunity to consolidate and build so we can significant progress on our stated aims and objectives.”
“The public recognition by the UK Government of our work is vitally important and has come about after several years of lobbying and work behind the scenes. We have had considerable support from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour MPs and the smaller political parties for which we are extremely grateful. However, words of support from across the political spectrum will only have true meaning if we can translate these into positive action in key areas where Sikhs have genuine concerns. The next few years will be a test for us all. Provided we remain focused and united and have the backing of the Sangat our success will be for all to see.”
Glad to see openness and transparency from the Labour selection system. Why so many MPs with no connection with Ealing Southall involved?
Nirwal's dark secret that did not get her selected is that she does not live in Southall. She has always lived in Harrow with her Husband but claimed she lived in Southall. This was exposed a few days before the interview date. She has misled the Southall community.
She was only known as the front runner dur to having a few MP friends. She was never the front runner in Southall. No one knows her in Southall. Even the late Piara Khabra was not her supporter.
Mr Khabra wanted Cllr Anand to become his succesor.
As for Councillor Singh, he is the dogiest Councillor in Southall, he is a crook who stole money from the mayor's charity when a Mayor for Ealing. He constantly reports his colleagues to the press.
He has never been loyal to the Labour party, his collegues, or the community.
If singh stands independently he will lose. He lost the GLA elections twice for the Labour Party.
Sharma's pretty forgetful - like forgetting to fill in his register of interests: http://www.ealing.gov.uk/services/council/councillors/declaration_of_interest/councillor_virendra_sharma
Who are the Sikh Federation anyway? If I was a Sikh I wouldn't want a "community" organisation to suggest that all Sikhs vote in a particular way any more than Christians or gingers vote in any particular way.
I like Sikhs as a rule - knew lots in Pakistan. They are much more relaxed than other Asian religions. They are even quite relaxed about their children marrying 'out' to Hindus. Their religion is one which respects other religions as a whole, and in theory they believe in female equality.
Punjabi food is also great (providing you like ghee)!
But I suspect the Sikh Fed. is not overly representative of Sikhs or sikhism. They sound a bit too militant!
Their main objective seems to be get a turban wearing Sikh into the commons, regardless of which pary he represents'.
In other words, the candidate must be into Pork Barrell politics, and represent the interests of this narrow version of the sikh religion and its adherents, rather than the constituency itself - of whatever religion.
This in contrary to our concept of Parliamentary democracy.
If this was a muslim saying this, we would be up in arms - but we think Sikhs are more cuddly perhaps.
remember - Sikhs are the warriors! Their symbols are the swords, and the Sikhs made the best soldiers in the empire after the Gurkha - and it was a Sikh who killed Indira Ghandi! Maybe this is the kind of Sikh which would join the federation?
anon: "[Gurcharan] Singh... lost the GLA elections twice for the Labour Party"
And that in spite of my vote and a couple of others who preferred the Labour devil we don't know to the puffed up tricky Dicky we do know! :-)
Politics can be a dirty business - especially by-elections - Ealing Southall promises to be a classic of the genre...
It's good in ever changing times to see that David boothroyd is still figting the 1983 Bermondsey by-election.
In exactly which way have the Tories or Lib Dems acceded to the Sikh Federations demands to select a visible turbanned Sikh?
Why don't the Sikh Federation sign their blog comments.
Heard there was a meeting in Southall last night where several independent Sikh candidates got together to 'elect' their 'official' candidate, even though all their names will be on the ballot paper.
Apparently, it was agreed by the majority that a Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, who heads up some local human rights group, would be the candidate with the best chance of winning.
Dr Rai apparently said 'if the only reason for standing was to split the Labour vote and cause Sharma to lose then he was not interested because he is in it to win it.'
Anyone that understands politics and the Ealing Southall situation know at best he will get a few thousand votes that may influence the final outcome.
Posted by: Anil Sharma
Have made a few enquiries about this Dr Rai. My Sikh friends say he is an opportunist that many do not trust. He will no doubt play the Sikh card. But local Gurdwaras do not like him and no way will Sikhs support him enmasse.
Even the Sikh Federation (UK) who has been active on these blogs more often than not do not see eye to eye with him. In fact some of my Sikh friends suggest they detest each other.
Posted by: Anil Sharma
Upon further digging it emerges Dr Jasdev Singh Rai not only heads up a human rights group - Sikh Human Rights Group (SHRG), he also headed up a terrorist Khalistani organisation - the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) in the late 1980s. In fact some have confirmed the original name of the human rights group was Sikh Human Rights Group (ISYF) as it was the ISYF's human rights wing.
During his time in the ISYF people in Southall and west London will remember a few of its members were imprisoned for a very long time for 'taking out' political opponents. Hopefully, he will not resort to these tactics in Ealing Southall, even though it will be dirty!
If the media and my name sake look into this I can see him pulling out, which must do Labour some good.
The local police and Special Branch no doubt know him well and will keep an eye on him and his supporters!
Posted by: Anil Sharma
Some URGENT action needs to be taken against these Fanatic Racist SIKHS. they are just as bad as Islam fanatics
Mr Gurcharan Singh is a staunch Khalistani - SIKH FANATIC and has has encouraged and help create a new younger generation of Fanatic type of Khalistanis amongst the Sikh youth.
Extremist sites like www.sikhsangat.com - sikh politics section, and www.saintsoldiers.net, www.carnage84.com, www.tapoban.org and extremist videos regarding Khalistan show the new wave of anti Indian India, fanatical type Khalistani Sikh , he has helped spawn and encouraged.
Good riddance to this Extremist who pretends to be there for the good of the community
Yes its important that the authorities keep an eye on this growing fanatacism amongst today sikhs.
They could very well be the new muslim fanatics of the future.
People in repsonsible positions politically should be more careful.
Gurcharan Singh was a joke
check out http://www.tapoban.org/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=43165&t=43165
Sikh is the best religion in the world.
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