Labour natural party for Indians, says London deputy mayor
As another mid-term election looms in the UK, Rajesh Agarwal, London’s deputy mayor, believes that Labour is the ‘natural party’ of preference for the 1.5 million-strong Indian community, highlighting its role in India’s independence and its international outlook.
Agarwal, who was one of the awardees at the glittering 19th Asian Achievers Awards event on Friday evening, is the co-chairman of Labour Friends of India, a lobby group within the party that is preparing to face the mid-term election forced by the Brexit crisis.
He told the gathering: “For decades the Labour party has supported India right since independence. Labour’s core values are centred around internationalism which brings people together and I think that Labour party continues to be the natural party for Indians.”
Indore-origin Agarwal’s role in the London mayor’s office is foussed on business: “It is important to provide any types of certainty to businesses and it is unfortunate that in the last three years the government has been unable to negotiate a deal that can be passes by the Parliament”.
“And now that the Parliament can’t resolve it there has to be a clear democratic mandate in the form of general election and there has to be a confirmatory vote”, he said at the event hosted by actor Nitin Ganatra and Nisha Parmar, semi-finalist of BBC’s 2018 Masterchef UK.
The awards, instituted by publishers of leading British Asian publications ‘Asian Voice’ and ‘Gujarat Samachar’, were given to leading individuals in various fields, including BBC broadcaster Faisal Islam, businessman Anil Agarwal, head coach Harjit Singh Bhania and surgeon Nilesh Patel.
Novelist Jeffrey Archer conducted an auction of cricket apparel that raised £150,000 for this year’s chosen charity organisation, Yuva Unstoppable, a youth movement in India that works towards educating underprivileged children.
CB Patel, publisher and editor, said: “This year our theme is inclusivity. That’s why we have so many shortlisted candidates from the LGBTQ community. Today also marks one year of decriminalisation of homosexuality in India - a step in the right direction under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Recalling the challenges faced by the Asian community in the UK over the decades, Patel added: “Societal exclusion, identity seclusion and isolation from the society are still the stark realities faced by many individuals, and for Asians it is even harder”.
“So, our job as always, is to set an example, not only through our publications, but especially through Asian Achievers Awards - campaigning for individual liberation and rewarding people for striving so hard against any odds”.
This year’s awardees include Onkardeep Singh (community services), Vipul Vadera (business), Kuch Kanodia (entrepreneur), Krishna Omkar (professional), Hafsa Qureshi (uniformed, civil and public services), Neeta Patel (woman of the year) and Pradip Dhamecha (community service).