The leaflet, in circulation for the Batley and Spen by-poll in West Yorkshire scheduled for Thursday, reveals Modi in a handshake with Conservative Occasion Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the G7 Summit in 2019 with the message “Do not threat a Tory MP who will not be in your aspect”.
It triggered livid reactions throughout social media after Tory MP Richard Holden posted a picture of it on Twitter, questioning whether or not it implies that Labour Chief Sir Keir Starmer wouldn’t be seen in a handshake with the Indian Prime Minister.
“Pricey Keir Starmer, please are you able to clarify this leaflet and make clear whether or not a Labour PM/politician would refuse to have any relationship with the world’s largest democracy? Is that this your message to 1.5 million+ members of the Indian diaspora in UK,” questioned the Conservative Buddies of India (CFIN) diaspora organisation.
The outrage was echoed from throughout the Labour Occasion ranks, with the Labour Buddies of India (LFIN) diaspora group demanding the “quick withdrawal” of the leaflet.
“The Labour Occasion is correct to name out Boris Johnson’s lack of motion following the conclusion that anti-Muslim sentiment stays an issue throughout the Conservative Occasion. It’s unlucky that the Labour Occasion used an image of the Prime Minister of India, the world’s largest democracy and one of many UK’s closest pals, from the G7 assembly in 2019, on its leaflet,” LFIN mentioned in its assertion.
Indian-origin veteran Labour MP Virendra Sharma additionally condemned the transfer as “low-cost divide and rule” and “dog-whistle” politics undeserving of Labour.
“The Labour Occasion will win by bringing folks collectively and uniting the group, to do the rest will divide our group and play into Tory palms,” mentioned Sharma, who represents Ealing Southall in London – a constituency with a big Indian diaspora presence.
One other Indian-origin Labour MP, Navendu Mishra, took to Twitter to declare that “racism is alive and effectively inside Labour”.
“A hierarchy of racism exists contained in the social gathering and a few teams are seen as truthful recreation for assaults primarily based on faith/race/heritage,” mentioned Mishra, MP for Stockport in northern England.
“Labour won’t win by taking part in divide and rule politics in opposition to our communities. We are going to win primarily based on a principled stance in opposition to racism and discrimination of every kind inside and outdoors the social gathering,” he mentioned.
The Abroad Buddies of BJP (OFBJP) group reacted by organising a letter of grievance to social gathering chief Starmer, criticising the “votebank politics” of the marketing campaign leaflet.
“OFBJP objects to this type of anti-India branding only for votebank politics. Such posters and statements are clearly an indication of divisive politics performed by Labour,” mentioned OFBJP President Kuldeep Shekhawat.
Indignant messages dominated the unique Twitter publish on social media, with many mentioning that it was Labour’s perceived “anti-India stance” that was among the many elements behind its bruising defeat within the 2019 Basic Election beneath former chief Jeremy Corbyn.
The by-election in Batley and Spen, a conventional Labour stronghold, is seen as a vital check of Starmer’s management after the Opposition social gathering fared poorly in latest byelections.
The by-poll this week follows the earlier Labour MP, Tracy Brabin, stepping down after being elected Mayor of West Yorkshire and has Kim Leadbeater within the fray for the social gathering, the sister of Jo Cox – the Labour MP murdered close to her constituency workplace in a far-right assault in June 2016.