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London may elect first Muslim mayor, opponent uses Modi card

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  6 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

London, May 5: With Pakistani-origin Sadiq Khan likely to become London’s new mayor, his Conservative foe Zac Goldsmith is using Indian Prime Minister rendra Modi’s me to woo Hindu and Sikh votes. Balloting is taking place on Thursday in England, Scotland and Wales to elect mayors and fill up assembly and parliamentary seats. The battle for London’s mayorship has become the most high-profile contest. All indications are that Khan, 45, a former human rights lawyer and a Labour MP from Tooting since 2005, will emerge the winner. That will make the former bus driver’s son Europe’s most powerful Muslim politician.

Khan was the transport minister in then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government in 2009-10. He was the first Muslim minister to attend Cabinet meetings. Married to solicitor Saadiya Ahmed, the couple have two daughters. Khan is proud of his British linkages.

“I’m a Londoner, I’m European, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Islamic faith, of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, a dad, a husband,” he said in a New York Times interview.

Khan’s grandparents migrated to newly created Pakistan following India’s blood-soaked partition in 1947. His parents shifted to Britain just before he was born in 1970. A YouGov poll gave the Labour candidate a 16-point lead among first-preference votes, with 48 percent of support, followed by Goldsmith on 32 percent. When second-choice votes were reallocated, the split was 60 percent support for Khan and 40 percent for Goldsmith.

Arguably, the election is slanted in Khan’s favour. The new London Mayor will replace Boris Johnson, a Conservative who has held the post since 2008. Khan has promised to address the city’s housing crisis, freeze transport fares for four years, create more job opportunities for Londoners and cut pollution. (IANS)

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