23 April, 2021

Laboured Victory

The election results seem a re-run but the figures mask some ugly truths: sleaze, racism, factionalism

Laboured Victory
The 2001 general elections in Britian will go down in history as the election the British Asians lost. Otherwise, the results were hardly a ripple against forecasts—Prime Minister Tony Blair repeated his landslide victory, the Tories remained low and the Liberal Democrats, the country's Third Force, remained third, albeit slightly less distant than where they were placed in 1997. It was as if the election did not happen at all.

But the results brought gloom to the tetchy world of Asians in Britain. And that when here too on the surface all remained exactly as before—Keith Vaz, Piara Singh Khabra, Ashok Kumar, Marsha Singh and Mohammed Sarwar were all re-elected; two new members made their debut. Tory candidate Shailesh Vara was expected to only nearly win and he only nearly did. Nothing was gained, nothing lost and yet the results were far from status quo.

The election results were no lifestyle survey. However, they did testify to the attitude prevailing in the South Asian society of Britain—of a divided com-munity rocked by racial prejudices, Hindu-Muslim...

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