Indians of the UK hope Starmer to reestablish working relationship with diaspora
LONDON: Keir Starmer emerged on Saturday as the winner of a three-way race to replace Jeremy Corbyn As the leader of the UK's leading opposition Labor party, his crushing victory is expected to reinforce the party's strained relations with India and its diaspora.
The 57-year-old human rights lawyer, seen as a united and moderate socialist force within the Labor Party, won 56.2% of the vote, beating out Rebecca Long-Bailey and half-Indian Lisa Nandy, who remained in third place with 16.2% mandate. Labor is the main opposition party in the UK.
The results were announced Saturday via email after plans for a public event were abandoned due to the pandemic. In a recorded video message, Starmer, an Oxford graduate and former head of the university, said: “We have to climb a mountain and I will do my best to re-engage with voters of all faiths and communities. Where that requires a change, we will change.
The Indian diaspora welcomed Starmer's victory, many of whom felt alienated by Corbyn's policies.
Harendra Jodha, director of the UK Rajasthan Association, said: “This will start the healing process. He understands how the world moves, so he will probably not take a side and have a good relationship with India and repair the damage done by Corbyn, who took the side of Pakistan.
Rajesh Agrawal, co-chair of Labor Friends of India, said he hoped the change in leadership would mean that the party could regain the confidence of the British Indian community. Work is the natural match for British Indians, he said. But relations have been strained in recent years.
Manoj Ladwa, former chairman of the Labor Friends of India community engagement forum, said that under Corbyn's leadership, Labor recklessly alienated many British Indians. Corbyn's supporters frequently fired on India, a country that is a strategic and economic partner of great importance to the United Kingdom. If Starmer is serious about becoming the prime minister of the United Kingdom, he must press the reset button urgently with countries like India and its 1.5 million diaspora, to which the previous leadership was openly hostile.
The leadership contest was triggered by Corbyn's resignation in December after the party suffered its worst defeat in the general election since 1935.
Keith Vaz, the longest serving Indian MP, said: This is a great opportunity to re-establish our relationship with India and the British Indians who have suffered so much damage in recent years. I hope that once the health crisis is over, I will make an early visit to India. ”
Labor MP Virendra Sharma said Starmer acknowledged that the Labor party needs to seriously improve its relations with the British Indians and that it intended to do so.
Pratik Dattani, managing director of market entry firm EPG, said: The work has suffered under Corbyn as seen as an anti-India party. A more pragmatic centrist leadership under Starmer can ensure that the party recognizes once again the immense contribution of India and Indians to British society. This may well pay them electoral dividends. ”