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UK: Sikh diaspora applaud India’s democratic process

Harpreet Singh Multani, a resident of Southall (Photo: ANI)

Members of the Indian Sikh diaspora in the UK have expressed their strong support for India’s democratic process, even as they reject a handful of criticisms against the electoral process of the country, which is billed as one of the world’s largest.

Harpreet Singh Multani, who resides in Southall, a suburban town in West London, says that there is visible progress that India has made in recent years.

“The kind of development happening in India, we have been observing while sitting in the UK. Major developments has happened in the past few years. I am not favouring any political party, but if positive work has happened, it has happened. The elections are free and fair. People are going to vote because they have witnessed development; otherwise, they will not vote. People must vote for a candidate who has been doing good work,” he said.

Baljinder Singh Rathore, a solicitor based in London, emphasised the importance of free and fair elections and the role of local representatives.

“It’s election season in India, and the elections should be free and fair, which is already happening. I hope people will vote for deserving candidates, depending on their local issues. Your local Members of Parliament (MPs) can resolve your issues, and you must vote for them,” said Rathore.

Rathore also noted India’s growing appeal to international investors. “India is fast becoming a superpower. Investors have now realized that after China, they should invest in India. A large number of Indians are now settled in countries like the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, and even Europe. India’s development helps us to grow, and our prosperity helps to make India proud.”

Darshan Singh Nagi, a Sikh social worker in London, praised the economic advancements in Punjab. “If I come down to Punjab in the past 10 years, there used to be only one airport, but now we have six, which is a phenomenal advantage for people living in Punjab. They can travel anywhere in the world,” he said.

Nagi also highlighted new international flight routes from Chandigarh, saying, “Now, I understand there are flights starting from Chandigarh to go to Singapore and other countries through the Middle East, which is wonderful news for people living in Punjab. It’s a lot easier to go anywhere in the world.”

Speaking about the ongoing elections, Nagi said, “We are having free and fair elections, which is amazing. It doesn’t happen in many places, but in Bharat, it’s doing a great job of holding fair elections.”

He added his support for the current government’s ambitious goals, noting, “The present government has given the slogan ‘Ab ki baar 400 paar.’ If it hits 400 seats, it will be a big achievement, and we will have further development. We are going to become the third-largest economy in the world. We have overtaken Britain, and we are ahead of European countries. What more do we want? It ensures a very good life for people, and that’s brilliant.”

Jaswant Singh Thekedar, chairman of Gurudwara Miri Piri in London, echoed the sentiment about India’s democratic strength but pointed out specific community concerns. “India is known for its democracy. People are happy with the government, but if they come to power again, I wish the issues related to Sikhs would be resolved. These are minor disputes which will benefit the Sikhs in India.”

He added, “India is a democratic country, and the elections are free and fair. The country deserves a strong government that will work for the welfare of its people.”

As India concludes its election period, the UK Sikh diaspora’s reflections underscore a blend of optimism and anticipation for continued progress and fair governance. The UK Sikh voices have reposed full faith in the democratic process and the sound judgement of the Indian voters.