UK’s Swindon gets first councillor of Goan origin
Imtiyaz Shaikh, who hails from Vasco da Gama, has become the first councillor of Goa origin to be elected to the council in Swindon after he emerged victorious in the May 3 local elections from Eastcott.
A large number of people from Goa have migrated in recent years to Swindon, nearly 130 km south-west of London.
Shaikh, who contested as a Labour candidate, won the five-cornered contest in Eastcott, polling 1621 votes. His nearest rival, Toby Robson of Liberal Democrats, received 1344 votes.
A leading member of Swindon’s Goan community, Shaikh has been resident in the town for a decade. He has been secretary of the Vasco da Gama Swindon Community.
He said before the election: “If elected, I would be proud to be the first member of Swindon’s Goan community to serve on the council. I want to work together in cooperation with Eastcott residents to improve our community”.
Swindon is now identified with Goa in the same way that Southall is identified with people from Punjab, or Leicester with Gujarat.
Under Portuguese nationality law, those born in Goa before its liberation from the European nation’s rule on December 19, 1961 can claim Portuguese citizenship after registering their births in Lisbon; their next three generations can also claim citizenship.
Shaikh is among several councillors of Indian origin to be elected in the local elections, particularly in boroughs in London, Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester.