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UK election: Conservative Marco Longhi who attacked Hindus and PM Modi, raised Kashmir’s ‘independence’ to woo Muslim voters, losses to Labour’s Sonia Kumar

Marco Longhi had said, "I pledge to you that I will raise my voice for Kashmir in Parliament even more and will be at the forefront of standing up for Kashmiris in Parliament."

Conservative Party candidate Marco Longhi who sought support from Muslims for the independence of Kashmir in the United Kingdom general election has suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Labour Party’s Indian-origin candidate Sonia Kumar. Rishi Sunak-led Conservative Party govt lost the elections, and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has become the new Prime Minister of the UK after the secured a landslide victory.

During the election campaign, Longhi railed against Hindus, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kashmir in an attempt to gain votes. Notably, he won the election from Britain’s Dudley North seat in 2019 and was standing for re-election in 2024. On the other hand, the Labour Party fielded Sonia Kumar against him and she secured 12,215 votes in the election while he could only obtain 10,315 votes and lost by a margin of 1900 votes.

He tried to win over the electorate by raising the Kashmir issue. On 17th June he even published a letter in which he propagated Hindu hatred and took an anti-India stance and asked Muslims in his constituency to vote for him, so he could bring up the issue of ‘independence’ of Kashmir in the UK Parliament. He further congratulated the Muslim voters in Dudley who were British Pakistani and Kashmiri on Eid-al-Azha and informed them that the saffron party had recently won elections in India again. He incited enmity by claiming that this indicated that the people of Kashmir are going to experience ‘tough times’ in the upcoming months.

He alleged, “Narendra Modi made it clear recently that he is going for a full statehood for Kashmir which would mean full removal of any sovereign rights of the Kashmiris and their special status.” He added that he was elected as MP in 2019 and since then he has been vocal about the “Indian Government atrocities towards the people of Kashmir.” The politician highlighted, “My involvement is well publicised and I have participated in several Kashmir events. I have always condemned India’s continuous illegal actions in Kashmir.”

He then specifically brought attention to and underscored the name of Labour Party Parliamentary candidate Sonia Kumar. He targeted her for her surname which he mentioned in capital letters and claimed, “I leave this decision to you. However should you vote for me, I pledge to you that I will raise my voice for Kashmir in Parliament even more and will be at the forefront of standing up for Kashmiris in Parliament.”

Labour Parliamentary Candidate in Leicester East, Rajesh Agrawal condemned the letter issued by 57-year-old Marco Longhi and noted, “This is a shameful attempt to divide communities and is offensive to both Muslim and Hindu communities. There should be zero tolerance for the dog-whistle politics Mr Longhi is engaged in.” He urged the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, who also comes from the Conservative Party, to remove support for Marco Longhi’s campaign immediately and stated, “Rishi Sunak should put country before party and immediately remove his Party’s support for Mr Longhi’s campaign and apologise for attempting to alienate British Indians.”

However, Marco Longhi tried to shrug off the matter by calling it a human rights issue after severe criticism. Interestingly, about 50% of voters in the Dudley seat, where he lost, are Christians, 6% are Muslims and 2% are Sikhs. Hindus only make up around 1% of the population in the area. Importantly, Marco Longhi’s ploy to court Muslims under the guise of Kashmir did not succeed in the election.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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