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November 13, 2019

For highlighting Kashmir issue: Overseas Friends of BJP in UK to oppose Labour Party in elections

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November 13, 2019

LONDON: Narendra Modi’s government has been accused of interfering in UK’s upcoming general elections after a group in Britain affiliated with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) announced to campaign against the Labour Party – and support the Conservatives - in over nearly 50 constituencies where Hindu voters could play a decisive role in deciding the outcome.

Official announcement by the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) said that its campaign against dozens of Labour MPs in key marginal, including two Sikh MPs, has sent shockwaves in the political circles.

Fears have grown that Indian government under Modi is using unethical tactics to punish Labour Party over its stance on the issue of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). They also plan to punish those MPs who have always spoken in support of human rights issues of religious and ethnic minorities and social classes in India.

Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, the President of OFBJP, confirmed that he was leading the campaign against the Labour Party for its criticism of India over the lockdown of Kashmir after Article 370 was revoked.

He said that in about 50 constituencies his group is urging British Indian’s to vote against Labour and swing the election results. Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat has proudly claimed that he’s linked with the ruling BJP and enjoys its full support.

“We have a team in each constituency which is going round with the Tory candidate leafleting, speaking to people and persuading them to vote Tory,” said Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat. Shekhawat says he has put together a team to mobilise the Indian diaspora through Mandirs, Gurudwaras and community organisations to "not vote for the Labour Party".

Shekhawat also said their campaign will target Britain's only two Sikh MPs – Tan Dhesi and Preet Gill – both of whom are from the Labour Party. He said that both Sikh MPs should be replaced with Conservatives.

“We are working with the Tory candidates in Keith Vaz's ex seat, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi’s seat, Preet Gill’s seat, Lisa Nandy's seat, Seema Malhotra’s and Valerie Vaz’s seats,” Shekhawat said, because – he claimed – “some of them have signed letters against India”. At its annual party conference in September, theLabour Party had enraged the BJP when it passed a motion calling for humanitarian and international observers to enter IOK. The motion also spoke in support for right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir.

In Britain, the OFBJP is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission and under its law no charity can engage in political activity or target parties and individuals. Dozens of Whatsapp groups have been set up urging Hindus to vote against Labour in the general election, accusing the party of being “anti-India” and “anti-Hindu”.

One message which viral through Whatsapp groups and included a video said: “The Labour Party is now the mouthpiece of the Pakistani government … it is anti-India, anti-Hindu and anti- Modi. So if there are any Indians who are still voting for Labour, or are still members of the Labour Party — then respectfully I say, they are traitors to their ancestral land, to their family and friends in India and to their cultural heritage.”

The message added on top banner: “Pass this to every true Indian.” Indian businessman Dudakia who is linked with the BJP has sponsored these messages. The same businessman recently spoke in the House of Commons at a Diwali event organised by Tory MP Bob Blackman, who is known for his support to BJP. At that event, Dudakia urged voters to vote for Hindus and not Muslims. He told the audience Conservatives were the only party for Hindus and that voting for Labour would mean voting for Muslims.

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