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Sunday May 16 2021

Tiger Patel from viral 'Tabdeeli' video wins Blackburn seat

A minicab driver, who won the local council election after his “Tabdeeli” video went viral on social media, said he is already working to deliver Tabdeeli (change) in Audley and Queen's Park ward in Blackburn.

The Conservative Party candidate beat his Labour opponent by 113 votes to take the seat. 

Tiger Patel, who also goes by the name of Altaf Tiger Patel, became a national sensation a few weeks ago when his video campaigning on a rickshaw with the famous PTI song “Tabdeeli Ai Ray’ blaring through the streets, caught the attention of the national media in the UK. 

An estimated five million people have watched the video and BBC, Sky and several other publications have interviewed Patel since. 

The lawmaker’s rickshaw campaigning videos with Tabdeeli songs and Qawaali music have become such a big hit that the local Conservative Party has sent a special report to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the election techniques of Patel and how he energised the local voters.

Several Conservative leaders have visited the unknown ward to get a picture with Patel. 

Two days ago, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson especially visited the area to get a one-minute video recorded of him standing next to Patel.

Read more: UK Conservative candidate goes viral with bizarre campaign featuring PTI song

In an interview, Patel told Geo. tv: “I have no doubt that I have won this election because of the publicity I received after my Tabdeeli video went viral. Men, women, and children started recognising me as the Tabdeeli man. School children coming home from school now stop me in the street and say ‘here comes Mr Tabdeeli song’. The response I received was phenomenal.”

Patel lost the election from the same area the last time he contested. The constituency is considered a Labour stronghold. 

'Not just the tabdeeli song'

It wasn’t just the video that helped him in his quest. “I had used the same Tabdeeli song in the last election but it didn’t work, a taxi driver friend had asked me to use it then. 

"After losing the election, I devoted myself to helping the local community by cleaning the area myself and helping everyone and proving that I am the real Tabdeeli man and it was also due to the fact that the local people voted for me,” he added.

Patel came to the UK from India 21 years ago. He started working as a tailor, then as a builder and for the last few years, has been working as a taxi driver. Now, he has become a councilor on the promise of bringing change, locally.

“I often asked myself why don’t we have these facilities, why swings of children in our parks are broken and why garbage is not collected on time and why doesn't the council pay attention? The answer I found was that local councilors are not interested in working; they get the votes [from the people] and then disappear.”

Since winning the election, Patel has been picking up the rubbish with help from his family and friends, without relying on the local council. 

Man who can deliver

He has been posting videos of his work to prove to his voters that he’s the man who can deliver.

In videos shared with Geo News, Patel can be seen collecting a huge amount of garbage and cleaning a street that was being used as a dumping ground by the locals.

He said politicians in India and Pakistan introduce Tabdeeli slogans and don’t do what they promise during the election campaign, but in the UK, it’s not possible for them to do the same.

“People remember and hold you accountable [in the UK]. I am working hard because if I don’t fulfill promises, nobody will vote for me the next time I stand in elections," he noted.