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Vara: Politician who packs a mean punch

A solicitor by qualification, Shailesh Vara is deputy leader of the Conservative Party in the British parliament. The story of the six-feet-tall British MP Shailesh Vara is reminiscent of a Bollywood script. Rajesh Priyadarshi reports.

world Updated: Nov 30, 2009 00:17 IST
Rajesh Priyadarshi

A solicitor by qualification, Shailesh Vara is deputy leader of the Conservative Party in the British parliament.

The story of the six-feet-tall British MP Shailesh Vara is reminiscent of a Bollywood script. Vara was born in Uganda into a Hindu immigrant family. His father, a carpenter hailed from Porbandar in Gujarat. In 1964, at the age of four, Vara migrated to Britain with his family.

In the 2005 general elections, he was elected MP for North West Cambridgeshire constituency and also became the deputy leader of the opposition party in UK Parliament.

Speaking to BBC Hindi, Vara said, “I am at present a ‘shadow minister’. The concept of a shadow cabinet is alien to India. But, over here … the opposition party has a full cabinet of its own. Tomorrow, if we win, then this cabinet is ready to take over the reins.”

Vara represents a constituency that has a majority of English farmers.

He said, “In my rural parliamentary constituency, 98 per cent of the population comprises of Britons, mainly farmers. People were only interested in knowing whether or not I had the mettle to take an appropriate stance on issues that were of significance to them… My background wasn’t of any importance to them”.

Vara has no confusion about his identity. “Britain is my country ... India is the country of my origin, my roots; so naturally, India holds a special place in my heart... I understand Indian traditions …better and thus, I believe that I can act as bridge when it comes to strengthening the relations between the two countries.”

Though his political journey is progressing well, Vara, a black belt in Taekwondo regrets not having the time to practice martial arts. “Practicing martial arts requires time. But whenever I watch action movies I love the stunts ….”

As of now, Vara is tightening his belt and preparing for the UK general elections next summer.