Born in Dhuri, 53-year-old Ranbir Sodhi was elected to the council of governors of Vantaa, a province in Finland adjoining the national capital Helsinki. He was elected for the third time in a row as ‘valttutettu’ - the Indian equivalent of an MLA, in the recently conducted elections. Sodhi was the chairman of the multicultural board in his second term. He represents Social Democratic Party, one of the leading national parties in Finland.
Sodhi said there were only 2,000 Punjabis in Finland. They supported him, but it was not this mere fact that made him score a ‘hat-trick’. “I contested the elections for overall development and betterment of Vantaa and people cast their votes in my favour,” he said.
He added, “The elections here are quite different from India. People in Finland question you if you did not deliver what you promised.”
Sodhi has lived in Finland for 30 years now. He is a businessman turned politician. He owns night clubs and discotheques in Finland. Sodhi moved to Finland in 1987 and became the first immigrant from South Asia to sit in the Vantaa assembly when he was elected in 2007.
Sodhi graduated from Government College in Malerkotla and completed his masters in economics from Punjabi University in Patiala.
Talking to HT over the phone, Sodhi said people in Finland were honest. They liked cleanliness and there was no pollution, but he still missed his home and childhood friends. He never misses chance to spend quality time with them, whenever he comes to Punjab, he added.
Another Punjabi, Sukhdarshan Singh Gill, lost the elections but a Pakistani woman Saba Ayub won the elections that were held on April 9, 2017.
ANCHOR SLUG: MLA IN FINLAND
BLURB: Dhuri-born Ranbir Sodhi represents Social Democratic Party, one of the leading national parties in Finland