Over recent months it has become increasingly clear to me that the vast majority of Indians in the UK have very little understanding about the real politics being played out both here as well as in India. I thought it might be interesting to tease out a few observations and see where this journey takes us.
Let’s start with the basics on how political parties in the UK might be aligned to those in India? Today in India you have an Indian National Congress (INC) led coalition Government called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) which traditionally has been on the left of politics. It tends to market itself on the Gandhi name and by being a friend to various minority groups. On the other hand you have the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led coalition called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which traditionally has been on the centre and right. It tends to market itself as being the custodian of the heritage and history of Bharat Varsh. So there you have the two sides of the coin – of course there is much more to this than meets the eye but for now it will suffice.
In the UK we have the Conservative Party that is in government currently and is considered to be a centre and right party. It markets itself with traditional British values and heritage. On the other side you have the Labour Party that has historically been on the left but more recently during the Blair era had moved closer to the centre. It prides itself with its roots in the Labour movement and being a friend of the Unions. Under Ed Miliband it seems to have lurched to the left recently.
When you consider the above it becomes clear where the natural alliances could be formed. To me it is clear that the Labour Party has much in common with Congress and as such would be sympathetic towards the UPA government in India. The Conservatives have much more in common with the BJP and as such I would not be too surprised to find that they are sympathetic towards Shri Narendrabhai and the BJP. Of course in politics we find politicians to be rather clever with their words and rhetoric – so they are not necessarily going to come out in public and make such declarations. So how do we know if my observations might have some substance? Let’s consider some evidence.
For example the Labour Party was rather quick in 2002 to put in place a diplomatic ban on the State of Gujarat with of all of its ramifications. In fact after more than 8 years even when they left office the ban was still in place. During this banning period the Government in India was led by UPA (Congress) and they made almost zero effort to formally object to the Labour government’s decision to attack one of its own sovereign states in India. Think about it, a foreign government attacks one of your democratically run state and as the sitting Government, Congress did nothing. The question arising is why not? Could it be that there is some sort of alliance between the Labour Party and Congress? After all the actions of the then Labour government in UK seemed to be to destroy the future political chances of Shri Narendrabhai Modi such that the UPA (Congress) could continue to maintain control in India. Interesting don’t you think?
What else do we have? Well since the Conservatives came to power in 2010 the unwarranted diplomatic ban was lifted against the State of Gujarat. Not only that but a few weeks back the British Prime Minster said, “We believe that closer engagement with Gujarat, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is now the best way to achieve our wide-ranging objectives there – including on human rights – and ensure that the UK can provide a full and consistent range of services across India”. So taken together it seems the Conservative Party has been very public and open about decisions that are wholly supportive of Shri Narendrabhai Modi and the State of Gujarat.
So how does this affect you and me? As Indians who have made a great life outside of India it is important that we know how politicians in our country think and the politics they play. In the above examples it is clear that there is a seismic shift in British politics and how the two main parties are aligning themselves with their counterparts in India. We on the other hand as a community seem to be stuck in some sort of time warp where much of the voting that takes place is done blindly. The proportion of people from within our community that vote for the Labour Party is significantly higher than those who vote for the other parties. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as it is done with good information and understanding of the true nature of these political parties. Do not vote blindly as your parents did. Make your vote count and at least do the basic research to know how your vote will be used or even abused.
I am very clear where the Conservative Party stands on Shri Narendrabhai Modi and Gujarat. However after many attempts I have still not been given a clear response from Ed Miliband or the Labour Party. That makes me think that maybe they wish to hide their true intentions. What are they afraid off I ask myself? Could it be that the huge move within the Labour Party to secure the Muslim vote might be compromised if they are seen to be doing anything to help the rest of the Indian community?
In my view the time has come for our community to take stock of where we are politically in the UK. As a community are we backing the right horse? If so, where is the evidence that that horse has actually done anything of significance for our community? Have our community leaders let us down by being so closely aligned to a party that their independence has compromised? Do these so called leaders put their political allegiances before the interest of their community and dharma?
Other ethnic communities have woken up to the ground reality and they have made huge inroads politically so that they can safeguard the position of their communities. What is it that we have done in the UK?
The moral of this story is simple. You might well have been fed a pack of lies for a long time. It is now time that you looked at all your options and when it comes to election time – make your vote count.