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    More Ealing Southall politics

    by Sunny on 2nd July, 2007 at 2:16 pm    

    The by-election in Southall on 19th July is going to be a huge deal for Labour, which wants to defend its seat, and the other parties who think they have a serious opportunity to extract that seat and claim that the era of Asian allegiance to Labour is over. Will it happen? This a developing story for us because Labour is yet to declare its candidate and the factional in-fighting there is reaching massive proportions.

    First, the others. The Conservative party have Tony Lit, former managing director of Sunrise Radio (his father Avtar Lit is chairman) and they’re very happy with the selection and believe they can increase their votes from 10,000 (21%). It’ll be near impossible for the Tories to win at the next General Election because boundary changes mean many Tory households will move into a separate ward. So they’ll be concentrating all their efforts now.

    The Libdems have decided to choose Nigel Bakhai as their candidate again, who last time came second with nearly 11,500 votes (24.4%). There were rumours that a Sikh candidate was going to be put forward, like Satnam Kaur for example (who runs the Sikh Times up in Birmingham) but they clearly decided to stick with a safe name because they anticipate that Labour will lose votes.

    But the Libdems did well on an anti-war ticket and they may not do as well this time if Respect also put forward a candidate, which is likely. Some say they’ll put forward a Sikh candidate too, but my feeling is that if they put forward a Muslim candidate (don’t you just hate communal politics?) then they’ll a big share of that block vote.

    It all comes down to Labour. Locally there are two major factions: Cllr Sonika Nirwal, who is leader of the opposition in Ealing council and thought she would benefit from the All-Women-Shortlist (which has been completely ditched); and Cllr Gurcharan Singh, who has been screaming hysterically to be the preferred candidate, but frankly no one wants him.

    Rumours are that Gurcharan Singh is threatening to break away as an independent candidate if Nirwal gets selected, which would split the Labour vote somewhat (although I think people will vote Labour regardless of the candidate. It’s not like Singh has a big name in the area). So an outside candidate could be brought in.

    Unity reckons that Gurinder Singh Josan from Sandwell could be parachuted in. Being a ‘visible Sikh’ would placate some of the Gurcharan Singh faction people apparently. Tom Watson MP, also from the Midlands, is running the Ealing-Southall campaign so he may prefer Josan come in rather than have to deal with Singh.

    But the problem with Josan is that because he doesn’t know the local area and people that well, he may not be able to appeal to the Muslim vote.

    There are also rumours that the Sikh Federation are also trying to push their own people into the seat but frankly they are irrelevant in Southall. Their base is the Smethwick Gurudwara in Birmingham and here in Southall the big Gurudwaras ditched Khalistani politics (struggle for a Sikh homeland, an obsession of SF) ages ago.

    My view is that if Gurcharan Singh gets selected then it would be better for the area if Tony Lit gets elected. The Conservatives would very likely lose at the General Election because of boundary changes and by then, hopefully, a more capable Labour candidate can arise in Southall. I’m still hoping Sonika Nirwal can pull it off.

    The Labour short-list for the area is released tomorrow and the election to determine their candidate (hustings) will be on Wednesday.

    The hustings is tomorrow (Tuesday) and the vote on Wednesday.

    You can also check out the Labour and Libdems groups on Facebook regarding this campaign.

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    15 Comments below   |  

    1. Uncleji political carpetbagger — on 2nd July, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

      I love communal politics there is nothing quite like dislike of their fellow citizens.
      “It’s not like Singh has a big name in the area)”
      Gurchan Singh may not have a big name, but he’s got huge clout. I’ve been to his gaffe years back to seek a favour and its just like the “Godfather” but with more mirch.
      “here in Southall the big Gurudwaras ditched Khalistani politics ”
      The Federation won’t able to make an impact, but that Khalistani sentiament is still strong especially in the Jat dominanted Gurudwaras especially Park Avenue complete with 1984 Khalistani martyers mural.

    2. Leon — on 2nd July, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

      This is starting to look like the Asian version of what’s happening in Streatham…

    3. Uncleji the ignorant — on 2nd July, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

      whats happening in streatham ?

    4. Muzumdar — on 2nd July, 2007 at 2:47 pm  

      Satnam Kaur for example (who runs the Sikh Times up in Birmingham)

      Factual innacuracy. Gurjeet Kaur runs the Sikh Times. I’d change that if I were you Sunny.

      Satnam Kaur is a lovely person though.

      I’m still hoping Sonika Nirwal can pull it off.

      She will win hands down. She’s super-smart.

    5. Leon — on 2nd July, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

      whats happening in streatham ?

      Infighting, negative briefings against other potential Labour candidates. Rumours, bargains and lies…you know the usual political stuff.

    6. Muzumdar — on 2nd July, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

      here in Southall the big Gurudwaras ditched Khalistani politics ages ago.

      None of the would-be candidates is dumb enough to try and get elected on the Khalistan ticket.

      Gurcharan Singh is a joke-figure for most people in Southall.

      Tony Lit will flop.

      No Sikhs are going to vote for a bloke called Nigel.

      Respect are seen as ‘Shariah Socialists’ so no Sikhs are going to vote for them either.

      If Labour do the right thing and get Nirwal selected, she will walk it.

    7. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

      especially Park Avenue complete with 1984 Khalistani martyers mural.

      Yeah but that doesn’t mean the Sikh Federation will be able to influence anyone from the congregation to vote for one candidate.

      Frankly, no one takes their political lessons from the Gurudwara anyway. So the idea that just because a Gurudwara supports one candidate will mean that local Sikhs will also vote for that person is completely farcical.
      The Sikh Federation are making a lot of noise but in Southall they are nobodies.

    8. Uncleji Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern — on 2nd July, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      “Infighting, negative briefings against other potential Labour candidates. Rumours, bargains and lies…you know the usual political stuff.”


      “The Sikh Federation are making a lot of noise but in Southall they are nobodies”

      Nothing new there.

    9. Jagdeep — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:57 pm  

      The Sikh Federation are making a lot of noise but in Southall they are nobodies.

      They are nobodies everywhere.

    10. BevanKieran — on 4th July, 2007 at 12:16 am  

      Slightly related…but it was worth pointing out CRE doing something good.


      The article quotes an approving comment from a member of the Army but was this idea pushed by the Sikh Federation or similar organisations.

    11. Bal Singh — on 6th July, 2007 at 10:32 pm  

      I personally think Sonika Nirwal is the best person for the job. She is highly educated, articulate and has elevated herself within the ranks of the Labour Party. Most top politicians know who she is.

      Let’s face it, Piara Khabra was an absolute joke. He did nothing for Southall or its constituents. He had the worst speaking record in the House of Commons and couldn’t even string a coherent english conversation together. I feel that Gurcharan Singh would be much the same, riding high on an ego trip.

      Yes, I’d love to see a turban wearing Sikh in the House of Commons.. but someone who is articulate and would represent all faiths with dignity and pride.

      I would predict that Kulveer Ranger (Brentford) will get in as the first turban wearing MP.

      Tony Lit has no experience in politics, yet is being thrusted into the desi limelight by Cameron. Yes he’ll get a fair whack of the vote - but will be far behind Labour. I’d bet on them wiping the floor with the Lib Dems, who have an absolutely pointless candidate.

      Hopefully Sonika Nirwal will get Ealing Southall.

    12. Bal Singh — on 7th July, 2007 at 10:00 pm  

      Just heard that Virendra Sharma has been put forward as the Labour candidate. Damn shame that Sonika Nirwal or Jo Sidhu didn’t get it. Means Southall will have to contend with another uncle ji not knowing what to do or so.

      I’m sure Tony Lit will reduce the majority - but it’ll be Labour all he way. Mt. Sharma is gonna be the next MP whether we like it or not.

    13. Anil Sharma — on 8th July, 2007 at 9:47 am  

      Two of my postings from elsewhere:

      1st posting

      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.

      2nd posting

      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.

    14. Bal Singh — on 8th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

      I would have thought Gurcharan Singh would have run as an independent. However, I have been told that he would have to resign from the Labour Party first. I can’t see him doing that….

      There may be a Sikh party as well as a Muslim Party which I’m sure will get a couple thousand votes each and eat into the Labour majority.

      I’m tempted to vote for the ‘Raving Looney’ party !!

    15. Anil Sharma — on 8th July, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

      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 police local and Special Branch no doubt know him well and will keep an eye on him and his supporters!

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