LONDON: Indian government’s attempts to interfere with the outcome of UK general elections through groups affiliated with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) failed badly as each and every Labour candidate targeted by the affiliates of Hindutva groups won on 48 target seats but in particular six hotly-targeted seats.
BJP and RSS’s three front organisations British Hindu and Indian Votes Matter (BHIVM), Conservatives Friends of India (CFI) and Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) announced to target 70 Labour candidates for 12 December elections and claimed immediately after the results were announced that their campaigning on communal lines against the Labour candidates influenced the outcome but a thorough research shows that the claim by Hindutva groups is baseless and fictitious.
Infact, the well-oiled campaigning by these groups failed to make any impact and Indian and Hindu voters showed little or no interest in the communal and sectarian campaign, encouraged by the Indian government.
These groups claimed that they were angered by Labour and Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the right of self-determination for the oppressed people of Kashmir. These groups initiated campaign after Labour party passed a resolution at the annual conference, ahead of elections, condemning revocation of Article 275 by the Modi regime.
The Hindutva groups targeted two British Sikhs MPs for their support for Khalistan and right of self-determination, six Labour MPs with majority significant Indian and Hindu voters in these constituencies and dozens of other constituencies.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), commenting on the OFBJP’s threat to defeat 48 Labour MPs and Hindu Temples preaching to defeat specific candidates told this correspondent: “In advance of the General Election the BJP only named six MPs or constituencies where they said they would carry out the threat. This included the two Sikh MPs – Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill, where they backed the Conservative candidates. In both cases their divisive tactics failed and the Conservative vote dropped as they won with large majorities of 13,640 and 5,614 respectively.”
He told Geo and The News that the other four Labour candidates they said they would defeat were Seema Malhotra, Valerie Vaz, Lisa Nandy and Claudia Webb but all won with comfortable majorities despite the Labour vote dropping nationally because of its awkward stance on Brexit and many not having confidence in the Labour leader.
He added: “Their strategy the BJP and Hindu Temples proved to be a mitigating disaster as all six Labour candidates were elected.”
In Leicester East, Claudia Webbe won by 6,018 on the seat vacated by Keith Vaz over sex scandal. She said she was delighted to be elected but said she had been facing a divisive campaign based on misinformation related to occupied Kashmir.
In Wigan, Lisa Nandy successfully defended Labour’s control of the constituency with a comfortable win at the polls. She won by nearly 7,000 votes.
In Walsall South, Labour’s Valerie Vaz won with a majority of 3,456, followed by Conservative candidate Gurjit Kaur Bains who secured 17,416.
In Feltham and Heston, Labour’s Seema Malhotra won by a margin of nearly 7,000 votes.
First ever Sikh female MP and Labour candidate Preet Kaur Gill secured victory by more than 6000 votes, fending off the Tory challenge of Alex Yip who received with 15,603 votes.
Britain’s first ever turban-wearing Sikh MP Labour’s Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was viciously targeted by the BJP and RSS activists in Slough but he beat Tory candidate Kanwal Toor Gill by 13,640 votes.
Political commentator Sunny Hundal told this correspondent that the pro-BJP campaign to affect the outcome of election results was very limited and “resonated mostly with older generation British Indians, rather than the younger generation”.
Hundal said that people could be influenced by misinformation and propaganda – like anywhere. But that impact was limited, and resonated mostly with older generation British Indians, rather than the younger generation. He added: “It certainly did not have enough of an impact to change any seats. Many were more worried about Brexit and the NHS than Kashmir.”
Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, the president of the OFBJP, had said that “not a single Hindu will vote for Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi this time because Hindu voters think he is working closely with the Pakistani community” but evidence shows that no heed was paid to the misleading propaganda run on doorsteps by the BJP and RSS supporters.
A look at the data from the 2011 census shows that there were 30 constituencies in which Asians constituted over 25% of the population. Of these, the largest chunk of 14 seats was in the London area; six constituencies in West Midlands; four in the Birmingham area; and constituencies in and around Manchester, Leicester; Bradford, Luton and Slough made up the rest.
Results of December 2019 election shows that Labour won 29 of these 30 constituencies – exactly the same as in the last general election in 2017. Data shows a drop in the Labour vote share from 68% to 62%. This drop of around 6.5% is lower than the decline of 8% nationally.
The BHIVM, CFI and OFBJP claimed to have mobilized hunderds of volunteers but reports from on-ground and the outcome shows that they were able to manage a few dozen hardcore RSS supporters and rest of their claims are laughable and exaggerated.