Home Uncategorized Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer Hit Temple Trail To Woo British Hindu Voters

Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer Hit Temple Trail To Woo British Hindu Voters


UK Elections: Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer Hit Temple Trail To Woo British Hindu Voters

The Rishi Sunak-led Tories have been trailing in all pre-election surveys


On the final weekend of campaigning ahead of the UK general election on Thursday, both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the man who is fighting for his job at 10 Downing Street – Labour Leader Keir Starmer, have hit the temple trail to woo British Hindu voters.

While 44-year-old Mr Sunak was at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden on Sunday to promise to keep trying to “make the community proud”, 61-year-old Mr Starmer chose another north London Swaminarayan Temple in Kingsbury on Friday to reiterate his commitment to building a “strategic partnership with India”.

The move follows a ‘Hindu Manifesto’ being launched by an umbrella group of British Hindu organisations for the first time ahead of a British general election, calling on elected representatives to take proactive steps to protect Hindu places of worship and tackle anti-Hindu hate.

“This mandir stands as a great statement of the contributions that this community makes to Britain,” said Mr Sunak, in his speech at the iconic Neasden Temple, where he offered prayers and sought blessings from the elderly in the gathering.

“Education, hard work, family, those are my values. Those are your values. Those are Conservative values,” he declared in his election pitch.

Meanwhile, Mr Starmer was welcomed to the tunes of an India-Scottish pipe band at the Kingsbury Temple, where he also began his speech in the same way as Mr Sunak with “Jai Swaminarayan”.

“If we’re elected next week, we will strive to govern in the spirit of sewa to serve you and a world in need,” said the Labour Leader, reiterating a previous message that there is “absolutely no place for Hinduphobia in Britain”.

According to the 2021 census, around 1 million people living in Britain identify as Hindus, making this electorate quite a sizable chunk in the July 4 general election.

“The ‘Hindu Manifesto’ is a call to action for all parliamentary candidates and political parties to engage with and support the Hindu community in their constituencies,” says the Hindus for Democracy group behind the initiative.

“It highlights the contributions of Hindus to the UK’s social, cultural and economic fabric and seeks to build a future where these contributions are recognised, valued, protected and promoted for a better future for all,” the group said.

While the incumbent Rishi Sunak-led Tories have been trailing in all pre-election surveys, how the diaspora votes line up this time with Britain’s first Indian heritage Prime Minister in the race remains to be seen.

“For the Conservative Party, obviously, they have Rishi Sunak – a British Indian leader – for the first time. It’s an unknown factor how much it will matter to British Indian voters that the leader of the party is from their background,” notes Sunder Katwala, Director of the British Future think tank.

With just days to go before polling day on Thursday, both leaders are expected to undertake a so-called campaign blitz – zig-zagging different parts of the United Kingdom including other places of worship to clinch any remaining undecided votes.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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