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Ten British Hindus to make debut in politics

The Hindu Forum of Britain is launching a programme to offer young Hindus the opportunity to shadow a British parliamentarian for six months.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 18:10 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), the representative body for British Hindus, is launching its Parliamentary Experience Programme (PEP) on March 22 to offer ten young British Hindus the opportunity to shadow a British parliamentarian for six months.

The initiative, which has the support of Parliamentarians from all three major British political parties, will allow the youth to experience first hand how Parliamentarians work in their constituency and in Westminster.

The launch is being hosted by Dawn Butler, MP for Brent South, and aims to encourage young community members to actively participate and contribute to the democratic institutions of Britain.

The six month Parliamentary Experience Programme seeks to address the current lack of representation of the community in the decision making process for public policy and democratic institutions by encouraging and nurturing carefully selected Hindu youth who will be mentored and trained by the Parliamentarian they will be shadowing.

Currently, there are only two MPs from the community out of 646.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the HFB said, "The Parliamentary Experience Programme will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what politicians do day-to-day, experience Westminster life and provide talented Hindus a platform to become active in British politics. More importantly it will improve the political representation of Hindu communities in local and national politics.

"It will also allow Hindus with an interest in the political process to shadow Members of Parliament from constituencies around Britain and learn how Parliamentary democracy works. If our values, concerns and traditions are to be understood and listened to then we must be part of the country's democratic process. This is the first step in making sure this happens."

Parliamentarians that have agreed to be shadowed are Dawn Butler, MP; Brian Binley, MP; Stephen Crab, MP; Greg Clarke, MP; Lord Dholakia, Lindsay Hoyle, MP; Ashok Kumar, MP; Dr Phyllis Starkey, MP and Simon Hughes, MP.

Those selected to participate in the programme are: Umesh Budia, Sundhya Raman, Nikunj Lukka, Sanjay Rawal, Sangna Kotecha, Selina Rawal, Deepti Pancholi, Rishi Sehgal, Aman Rattan and Shivali Dave.

They will shadow an MP from one of the three political parties, for a minimum of two days a month over a period of six months. Additionally, shadowers will attend bi-monthly seminars with senior politicians; organise a national conference on democracy for 500 students, and stand a chance of being adopted by the HFB as potential politicians for training, mentoring and support.

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 18:10 IST