Victoria state’s local government election has got a “desi” twist with three Punjabi Australians entering the fray in Whittlesea, an extension of Melbourne.
Undeterred by the fact that this city council has never elected an Indian, Lakhwinder Singh Dhillon, Gurinder Kaur and Judgebir Singh are campaigning hard in Whittlesea, where Indians form the fifth largest chunk in a population of 154,900 after the English, Macedonians, Italians and Greeks.
Around 40,000 voters in this zone have to elect four councillors through the preference voting system by October 21.
Dhillon, who hails from Amritsar, is a taxi driver who famously returned $110,000 left behind in his cab. He was honoured by the Melbourne City Council for this act of honesty.
Kaur, who works with the Australian government, is also from Amritsar. A baptised Sikh, she does volunteer work through her membership with the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence and Flying Sikhs of Australia.
Singh, who is from the Abohar region in Punjab, is a businessman also interested in volunteer service. He is associated with bodies such as the Oorja Foundation, Aurora Community Association and the Darebin Chargers Cricket Club.
All three believe in door-to-door campaigning, besides using social media to woo voters.
Local issues dominate their campaign, such as traffic congestion, growing crime, deficient public transportation systems, inadequate and low-graded schools, insufficient public parks and sports infrastructure.