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Posts Tagged ‘Abhijit Pandya’

Having a strict immigration policy is not a sign of intolerance, according to the UKIP candidate for Harrow East.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Stanmore Politics before the general and local elections this Thursday, Abhijit Pandya emphasised that critics have no basis for calling UKIP intolerant.

“A strict immigration policy in fact can ensure social cohesion and preserve toleration,” he said.

Pandya, a tutor of international law at LSE who grew up in the Harrow area, added he supported a strict cap on immigration.

“People must have secured employment to come into the UK, or they will be a burden on social security.”

However, as the son of immigrants, he agreed there have been ‘huge benefits’ to immigration in Britain, mentioning ‘hard-working decent people seeking to assimilate and participate in Britain.”

“Immigrants contribute to all areas of national life, have contributed to the armed services and the post second world war economic recovery.”

Following on from the furore of a hustings event last week, he said there were huge differences between UKIP and the BNP.

“The fundamentals of our understanding of Britishness is not based on ethnicity but on common shared values of liberalism, toleration and democracy,” he said.

The former Conservative campaigner said UKIP could offer a  clear position on Europe which was not anti-European ‘in a derogatory or prejudiced way’.

He said he wanted to make people aware ‘that we are not a one issue party’ and called for more vocational training for children and an economic revival for small and large businesses.

“I also want a Harrow that is free of property related crime, like burglary and thefts,” he said. “This is by ensuring that police are not burdened with administrative difficulties.

Pandya went on to describe a 50 per cent tax as ‘simply nationalised theft’ and called for a Royal Commission on climate change ‘to ensure Government spending in that area is used honestly’.

“We should not have the inordinate overseas aid budget that the Conservatives and Labour have signed up to in a time of economic crisis,” he said.

He said that politicians put too much emphasis on soundbites trying to please the public, rather than facing difficult arguments.

“Politics has become far too simplistic in its image, whereas the process of Government is ever more complex,” he said. “This leads to a misleading of the public’s expectations.”

Acknowledging UKIP face an uphill challenge, having polled just 757 votes in Harrow East in 2005, he said if he did lose he wanted the party to grow in Harrow ‘by listening to the real concerns of people from all areas of society.’

Still not decided who you’re going to vote for? Read the Stanmore Politics interview with incumbent Labour MP, Tony McNulty, here.

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As regular Stanmore Politics readers may have noticed, there has been some controversy in the aftermath of last week’s Harrow East hustings.

Some in the audience felt Labour candidate Tony McNulty had slammed his UKIP opponent, Abhijit Pandya, as being ‘a BNP man in a suit’.

However McNulty has since asked to clarify his comments. He told Stanmore Politics:

“I said that given his comments, it was no wonder that people called the UKIP the BNP in a suit.

The incumbent MP also said he did not remark on Pandya’s roots, but wanted to make clear that ‘multiculturalism is about everyone celebrating their roots within a British context – not separatism’.

In 2005 UKIP won just 757 votes in Harrow East, a 1.8 per cent share.

Read the complete guide to Thursday’s elections here.

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Could Harrow East veer even more to the right than we might expect next Thursday?

Douglas Murray has blogged on the Telegraph about what he calls the ‘scandalous insult’ made by Tony McNulty to fellow Harrow East candidate Abhijit Pandya.

Following on from Bigotgate yesterday, right wing rabble-rouser Murray argues that McNulty was just as contemptuous of the UKIP candidate when he said at a hustings event last week: “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. You are a BNP man in a suit.”

The Labour MP also accused Pandya, who was born in Harrow and grew up in London, of having forgotten his roots.

Murray went on to sing the praises of Pandya:

“He is a fellow in law at the LSE. As well as being academically distinguished, he is hugely intelligent and likeable. He is also admirably unafraid of tackling difficult issues.

“He is exactly the sort of person who would make the House of Commons a better place.”

Murray ended his post by remarking that putting ‘Brown and McNulty’s recent performances together and you can see why’ voters are moving to fringe parties like UKIP.

Last week, the McNulty comment prompted a flurry of reader reaction on Stanmore Politics.

Bluesharrow wrote that it: “was childish and typical of this politically correct world we live in.”

Virender added: “Those of us who were born here are British, and to claim that you have to be BNP in a suit to promote British culture beggars belief.”

Saurav Nangalia: said the remark was offensive and made ‘the very point that Pandya was trying to get across’. “Abhijit is the only candidate who was born and bred in the constituency so who the hell is McNulty to tell him what his roots are?

“The other parties as usual try to pigeonhole him off based on the colour of the skin – this is the same kind of racial division that the BNP promote.”

Based on this, will UKIP enjoy increased success next week at the polls?

In 2005 the party won 1.8 per cent of the vote, or 757 votes.

Read my top ten political gaffes on Times Online here.

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The candidates for Harrow East clashed over race relations and the expenses scandal at The HA1’s pre-election debate last night.

Outgoing Labour MP Tony McNulty, Conservative candidate Bob Blackman, Liberal Democrat candidate Nahid Boethe and UKIP candidate Abhijit Pandya were at The University of Westminster to discuss questions raised by voters and students.

The first question asked referred to the quality of race relations in local communities, with Black and Minority Ethnic groups now making up 55 per cent of Harrow’s population. UKIP member Mr Pandya, who is of Indian origin, caused controversy and was laughed at by the audience when he talked of creating “one Britishness” by encouraging the various ethnic communities to attend gatherings promoting British culture.

The other three candidates disagreed and were united in claiming that Harrow East’s ethnic communities were functioning well living side by side and bringing their own different cultures to the community.

Mr McNulty directly attacked Mr Pandya saying: “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about.

“You are a BNP man in a suit.”

Conservative candidate Mr Blackman said: “There is great tolerance here of different races and religions. Mrs Boethe added: “We are all the same, we are all living together”. The debate soon moved on to the expenses scandal.

Last year, Mr McNulty was shamed by The Daily Telegraph who reported that he had claimed second home allowances on a house that his parents live in. One Stanmore resident in the audience, Graham Hall, told the panel: “I’m afraid MPs in Parliament just do not get it, at how annoyed the public are over the expenses scandal.”

Addressing Mr McNulty directly, he added: ”You were a minister at the Home Office. You really should know what it is to be upright and honest in your dealings over your expenses.”

Mr McNulty said that he had taken advice from the fees office on his expenses 10 years ago and that the advice turned out to be wrong. He has since apologised both to his constituents and to Parliament and paid back the amount.

Mr Blackman said: “All politicians should be apologising rather than saying ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’. What I hear when I go door to door is that the current Labour MP has let everyone down and I don’t know how he has got the cheek to stand. ”

Mr Pandya said he would push for criminal sanctions for MPs who abuse the system whilst Mrs Boethe promised transparency from the Liberal Democrats.

Other issues discussed included problems caused by the closure of the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines at weekends and the failure to get proper disabled access at Stanmore and Harrow on the Hill stations. Mr McNulty blamed London Mayor Boris Johnson and Mr Blackman blamed former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mrs Boethe said both parties were guilty of failing to get things done. The Labour and Conservative candidates clashed again over the future of Northwick Park Hospital.

Mr McNulty told Mr Blackman to “stop lying” over fears the Accident and Emergency department there could be closed. “There is no threat to the A&E department at Northwick Park Hospital,” he said.

“We want to grow and develop and get to a stage where Northwick Park Hospital is one of the finest hospitals in London.”

Mr Blackman disagreed, saying: “The position is that NHS London are consulting at the moment… and that says 5 out of 8 of the A&E services in north-west London will close. “It’s not fair to say that there‘s no threat to Northwick Park Hospital, because there is.”

The discussion finished on particularly sensitive issues when a member of the audience asked the candidates what they intended to do about the proposed job cuts at the University of Westminster.

All candidates offered to speak to the Vice Chancellor. Bob Blackman closed the discussion saying: “If constituents are being faced with job cuts, I would ask why this is being done. You need the expertise of teachers to be passed on to the students. You cut these people at your peril.”

Madeleine Atkins is also standing for election in Harrow East as a representative of the Green Party, but did not take up the opportunity to attend last night’s debate.

The report of yesterday’s debate was written by Victoria Maw. See photos from the event and more over at The HA1

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What do you really know about the people who want to run Harrow East as of May 6th?

After all the talking, policy proposing and manifesto launching, it seems high time to hear from the candidates themselves.

Luckily my fellow community site The HA1 is on hand to help.

They will be hosting a debate next Tuesday featuring four of the candidates running for election in Harrow East.

Confirmed to be at the event, which will be held at at the University of Westminster, is Nahid Boethe (Lib Dem), Abhijit Pandya (UKIP) and Bob Blackman (Conservatives). Incumbent MP Tony McNulty will also be making an appearance.

Entry is free. Reserve you seat by emailing news@theha1.co.uk or by calling 020 7911 500 Ext: 4115.

Before you have your say, why not let them have theirs.

If you are interested in covering the event for Stanmore Politics please email stanmorepolitics@gmail.com

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