Friday 29 April 2022 6:07 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
EAST HAM April 29: The disgruntled South Indian communities in Newham have decided not to vote for Labour Party and instead vote for independent candidates from their own community or for the Conservatives in the forthcoming Local government elections to be held on 5th May 2022.
A protest meeting organised and chaired by Chelliah Murugesan was held on 28th April at the The Trinity Centre, East Avenue, Manor Park, London E12 6 SG.
The decision not to vote for Labour Party was taken as a result of the community being marginalised with no seats being offered to anyone from the south Indian community for the May local elections and also due to several of its leaders being avoided or sitting candidates not offered another opportunity.
The meeting at Trinity Centre was attended by community leaders from the south Indian community. All of the attendees spoke their minds and unequivocally felt that the Labour Party in Newham has treated the south Indian community unfairly.
The meeting unanimously decided to vote any independent candidates if they are from the same community or vote for Conservatives.
Valarmathi Bharath, who is part of the organising team, said: “Newham is one of the most diverse boroughs in the country and the make up of the councillors must reflect that”.
According to Valarmathi: “People in power can only be effective and respond to concerns if they understand the community. Without adequate representation then this is not possible. There will be no representation of South Asian experiences and views in the Labour party.
“East Ham is in our history, most of our journeys started here. For this reason we have to protect it, our fathers and mothers worked hard to establish the community that we have enjoyed all this time and that can’t not be taken away from our children
“It’s our responsibility to create a community that is well represented at every level of the political system for our future generations, ensuring they have a sense of belonging. I feel betrayed and been used as a vote bank”.
“The south Indian community comprise of Tamils, Malayalees, Andhra, Telugu, Kannada who have played a very active role in Labour Party politics in Newham in the last decade.
“The avoidance is alarming because there is around 20,000 Labour Party supporters from within the south Indian community in Newham and they are a force to reckon with when it comes to swaying votes”.
The 2022 Newham London Borough Council election is due to take place on 5 May 2022. All 66 members of Newham London Borough Council will be elected. The elections will take place alongside local elections in the other London boroughs and elections to local authorities across the United Kingdom.
In the previous election in 2018, the Labour Party maintained its control of the council, winning all 60 seats. The 2022 election will take place under new election boundaries, which will increase the number of councillors to 66. The election will coincide with an election for the mayor of Newham after a governance referendum resulted in the borough keeping a directly elected mayor.
Newham has been under Labour control since its creation, besides a period of no overall control from 1968–1971. In the most recent election in 2018, Labour won all sixty seats with 67.2% of the vote across the borough. The Conservative Party received 15.2% of the vote, the Liberal Democrats received 5.9% of the vote and the Green Party of England and Wales received 5.2% of the vote but none of these won any seats. The Labour candidate Rokhsana Fiaz became mayor of Newham in the concurrent mayoral election, succeeding Robin Wales with 73.4% of the vote in the first round.
The thirty-two London boroughs were established in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. They are the principal authorities in Greater London and have responsibilities including education, housing, planning, highways, social services, libraries, recreation, waste, environmental health and revenue collection. Some of the powers are shared with the Greater London Authority, which also manages passenger transport, police and fire.
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