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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Indian-origin candidates in fray in Aus elections

PTI  Melbourne, August 07, 2013
First Published: 16:16 IST(7/8/2013) | Last Updated: 16:18 IST(7/8/2013)

A number of Indian-origin candidates will be in the fray in the coming elections in Australia, in which over 50 political parties are preparing to contest, signalling a coming-of-age of the diaspora community in the country.

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Manoj Kumar, whose name was announced as a Labor candidate to contest from Menzies seat in Victoria last night, will be giving fight to the former immigration minister Kevin Andrews, who attracted controversy in 2007 for cancelling an Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef's visa.

Jag Chuga and Shilpa Hegde are the two Indian-origin candidates representing Liberal Party this year in Victoria - Scullin and WIlls seat respectively.

Apart from this, Clive Palmer-led Palmer United Party (PUP) has also fielded a few Indian origin candidates.

While Vashil Sharma and Vimal Sharma are two candidates from Western Australia for PUP, Avtar Gill will run as its candidate from Isaac seat in Victoria.

For another party, 21st Century Australia, Bill Gupta of Indian-origin would be representing Batman seat in Victoria.

Late last week, Julian Assange had announced his WikiLeaks Party candidates via a videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, which also had two Indian-origin persons of seven candidates.

Binoy Kampmark and Suresh Rajan, who would contest from Victoria and Western Australia, respectively, as Senate candidates for the Party have an Indian background.

"You know when a diaspora has come of age when it directly intervenes in the electoral process of a democratic county that hosts them. I think the fact that Indians are candidates in the forthcoming general election in Australia is health and reflects their mainstreaming and growing empowerment," said Amitabh Mattoo, director, Australia India Institute.

However, till now no Indian has ever been elected to Australian Parliament.

Australian-Indian community is the fastest growing community pegged at over 450,000 people of Indian-origin.

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