Ankit Love, a young Dogra musician who claims the title of “Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir”, fared poorly during the London mayoral election in May, but is back in the political arena as a candidate for a by-election scheduled for next month.
Love, 32, insists he is a serious candidate in the Richmond Park by-election on December 1, espousing the cause of air pollution in London and across the globe. His party, One Love, is registered with the Electoral Commission, whose records mention the party’s leader as “Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir”.
The son of Bhim Singh, former president of the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party, told Hindustan Times: “I will now be contesting against Zac Goldsmith again to end the air pollution pandemic, this time in the Richmond Park by-election.
“I am using my title, Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir, as has been updated and approved by the Electoral Commission. I come from a political family, I have experience of this. Even if I am unsuccessful, people will know me after the elections.”
The by-election was triggered by Goldsmith’s resignation last week to protest against the government’s approval of a third runway at Heathrow airport. Goldsmith was also a candidate during the London mayoral election, won by Labour’s Sadiq Khan.
Passionate about clean energy, Love wants the British government to impose a surcharge to counter air pollution, and wants all major parties to withdraw their candidates and unite behind him. There has been no response from other parties to his appeal so far.
“What is wrong with our people? If our water was contaminated to this scale they’d all be up in arms. But with air, the first fundamental human right, everyone is in denial. As alternative technologies already exist, are they all so ignorant or just plain stupid?” he wondered.
A British citizen, Love arrived in London in 1989 as a 6-year-old and studied art and music in Surrey and California. He has plans for peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the reunification of India and Pakistan.
The One Love party, founded in October 2015, has unsuccessfully contested other elections, such as by-elections in Tooting, Batley and Spen and Witney, and the mayoral by-election in Hackney.