BJP, RSS’s campaign to interfere in UK election fails miserably

BJP and RSS fronted organisations had announced to target 70 Labour candidates during UK elections

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Photo: Reporter

LONDON: The Indian government’s attempts to interfere with the outcome of UK general elections through groups affiliated with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were unsuccessful as each and every Labour candidate targeted by the affiliates of Hindutva groups won their seat.

The BJP and RSS’s fronted organisations British Hindu and Indian Votes Matter (BHIVM), Conservatives Friends of India (CFI) and the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) had announced to target 70 Labour candidates for the December 12 elections. After the election results were announced the groups announced that their campaigning on communal lines against the Labour candidates influenced the outcome. However, thorough research shows that the claim by Hindutva groups is baseless and fictitious.

In fact, the well-oiled campaigning by these groups failed to make any impact and Indian and Hindu voters showed little or no interest in the communal and sectarian campaign encouraged by the Indian government.

These groups claimed that they were angered by Labour and Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the right of self-determination for the oppressed people of Kashmir. The groups initiated the campaign after Labour party passed a resolution at the annual conference, ahead of elections, condemning revocation of Article 275 by the Narendra Modi regime.

The Hindutva groups targeted two British Sikhs MPs for their support for Khalistan and right of self-determination, six Labour MPs with majority significant Indian and Hindu voters in these constituencies and dozens of other constituencies.

Photo: Reporter

Sikh Federation (UK) Chair Bhai Amrik Singh commenting on the OFBJP’s threat to defeat Labour MPs and Hindu Temples said, “In advance of the General Election, BJP only named six MPs or constituencies where they said they would carry out the threat. This included the two Sikh MPs – Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill, where they backed the Conservative candidates. In both cases, their divisive tactics failed and the Conservative vote dropped as they won with large majorities of 13,640 and 5,614 respectively.”

He told Geo News that the other four Labour candidates they said they would defeat were Seema Malhotra, Valerie Vaz, Lisa Nandy and Claudia Webb but all won with comfortable majorities despite the Labour vote dropping nationally because of its stance on Brexit and many not having confidence in the Labour leader.

“Their strategy the BJP and Hindu Temples proved to be a mitigating disaster as all six Labour candidates were elected,” Singh added.

In Leicester East, Claudia Webbe won by 6,018 on the seat vacated by Keith Vaz over a sex scandal. Webbe said she was delighted to be elected but said she had been facing a divisive campaign based on misinformation related to occupied Kashmir.

In Wigan, Lisa Nandy successfully defended Labour’s control of the constituency with a comfortable win at the polls. She won by nearly 7,000 votes.

In Walsall South, Labour’s Valerie Vaz won with a majority of 3,456, followed by Conservative candidate Gurjit Kaur Bains who secured 17,416.

In Feltham and Heston, Labour’s Seema Malhotra won by a margin of nearly 7,000 votes.

First-ever Sikh female MP and Labour candidate Preet Kaur Gill secured victory by more than 6000 votes, fending off the Tory challenge of Alex Yip who received with 15,603 votes.

Britain’s first-ever turban-wearing Sikh MP Labour's Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was viciously targeted by the BJP and RSS activists in Slough but he beat Tory candidate Kanwal Toor Gill by 13,640 votes.

Political commentator Sunny Hundal said the pro-BJP campaign to affect the outcome of election results was very limited and “mostly resonated with older generation British Indians, rather than the younger generation”.

Hundal said that people could be influenced by misinformation and propaganda - like anywhere. But that impact was limited and mostly resonated with older generation British Indians, rather than the younger generation.

“It certainly did not have enough of an impact to change any seats. Many were more worried about Brexit and the NHS than Kashmir,” he said.

OFBJP President Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat said that "not a single Hindu will vote for Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi this time because Hindu voters think he was working closely with the Pakistani community”. However, evidence shows that no heed was paid to the misleading propaganda run on doorsteps by the BJP and RSS supporters.

A look at the data from the 2011 census shows that there were 30 constituencies in which Asians constituted over 25 per cent of the population. Of these, the largest chunk of 14 seats was in the London area; six constituencies in West Midlands; four in the Birmingham area; and constituencies in and around Manchester, Leicester; Bradford, Luton and Slough made up the rest.

Results of December 2019 election shows that Labour won 29 of these 30 constituencies – exactly the same as in the last general election in 2017. Data showed a drop in the Labour vote share from 68 per cent to 62 per cent. This drop of around 6.5 per cent is lower than the decline of 8 per cent nationally.

The BHIVM, CFI and OFBJP claimed to have mobilized hundreds of volunteers but on ground reports and outcome showed that they were able to manage a few dozen hardcore RSS supporters.