Two Indian-origin entrepreneurs to contest Mayor of London election
Tarun Ghulati's election tagline is 'trust and growth' and Shyam Batra has gone for 'ambassador of hope'
The election for the mayor of London is scheduled for 2 May and the battleground of candidates challenging the incumbent, Sadiq Khan, is gradually expanding with two Indian-origin entrepreneurs in the race as independent candidates.
While businessman Tarun Ghulati (63) had launched his mayoral campaign during a visit to India at the end of last year, property entrepreneur Shyam Bhatia (62) is the latest entrant to the contest, making up nearly a dozen candidates. Ghulati's election tagline is "trust and growth" and Batra has gone for "ambassador of hope".
"There is a growing belief that the current incumbent has lost support and another major party contender is considered very uninspiring by the voters," Ghulati told PTI.
"I am standing as an independent candidate to become the next Mayor of London because I want to encourage the free flow of ideas and policies without party ideology and bias. I am getting ideas from the people and will accordingly work for the people involving them where feasible in the decision-making process," he said.
Making London safe for all, getting London moving again, levelling up for Londoners, strengthening London's communities, and championing London are among the top priorities for the city the Delhi-born strategic advisor has called home for over 20 years.
"London is ranked the best city in the world and is a proud global city. As mayor of London, I am determined to do whatever it takes to ensure that London, my chosen home, retains its place as the leading global city and that all Londoners feel safe, secure and empowered with opportunities for growth," he said.
Asked about the decision to launch his mayoral campaign in India, he added: "India is my janambhoomi, where I was born, and London is my karambhoomi, where I do my work. It was very important for me to get the blessings of elders, parents, family and well-wishers. That is why I chose to launch my campaign for mayor of London in India."
With a former secretary in the government of India for a father, Ghulati shares something in common with the other Indian-origin candidate in the race, whose father also served in the Indian government.
"I am deeply troubled by the current state of the city. It saddens me to witness residents being taken advantage of and victimised by a defunct policy system. I am fully committed to devoting my energy and passion to this cause," said the UK-born Batra.
As the founder of a "private bespoke financial business" geared toward affordable property ownership and frugal business choices, the British-Indian property businessman feels he has the right credentials to overcome the hurdles to take charge of running the UK capital.
"I understand that the road ahead will be challenging, with days and nights filled with overwhelming obstacles. It is precisely these difficulties that we must overcome to regain and restore our city to its rightful place," he said.
The official nominations for those contesting the mayor of London elections take place in March, at which point they must present their requisite support base by way of signatures and deposit. The final list of candidates will be announced on 2 April, a month before the election.
Besides the two British Indians, those declaring their intention so far to try and prevent the Labour Party's Sadiq Khan from winning a third four-year term in the post include Susan Hall (Conservative Party); Rob Blackie (Liberal Democrats); Howard Cox (Reform UK); Zoe Garbett (Green Party); Natalie Campbell (independent); Amy Gallagher (independent); Rayhan Haque (independent); and Andreas Michli (independent).