February 13, 2015 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK: The Sikh Federation (UK) that is often referred to as the one and only Sikh political party in the UK has taken a huge step in producing and releasing a comprehensive 10-point manifesto three months before the General Election.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: ‘Many who have studied the manifesto, the identification of 50 target seats and examined the voting strategy being put in place have been impressed and commented that the British Sikh community has politically come of age.’
The Sikh Federation (UK) is in the process of organising meetings with each of the main political parties in March to establish their views on the manifesto whilst locally Gurdwaras and Sikhs are being encouraged to proactively use the manifesto to question sitting MPs and those challenging them in around 120 constituencies. Given the changed political landscape collective decisions taken by communities may prove far more important in May.
The Sikh Manifesto that was officially released by the community on 31 January in London is surprisingly far more innovative and far-reaching than the Jewish equivalent released a few days later. The Sikh Manifesto has now been widely shared with MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) and is doing much to raise awareness of legitimate issues of concern.
The impact of the Sikh Manifesto is expected to go far beyond the 50 target seats as some issues in the manifesto resonate much more widely with politicians and the public at large. For example, the issues of more effective representation in Parliament, positive action to prevent discrimination, tackling grooming, faith schools and addressing human rights violations have much wider appeal.
On Saturday 14 February the Sikh Federation (UK) and the Sikh Network that was established to produce and monitor progress with the Sikh Manifesto over the next five years are holding a follow up event at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick in the West Midlands where 15-20 MPs and PPCs from the 50 target seats are expected to attend. This will be followed by an event in Parliament on 26 February before the Sikh Federation (UK) hold meetings with each of the main parties.
The May General Election appears to one of the most unpredictable elections ever with what appears to be a significant shift towards the Scottish National Party north of the border and the emergence of UKIP and to a lesser extent the Greens in England and Wales. The Liberal Democrat vote and number of MPs are expected to drop considerably, but both the Conservatives and Labour are currently projected to fall short of an overall majority.
Bhai Amrik Singh added: ‘What the Sikh community decide to do in certain seats using the Sikh Manifesto is therefore more critical than at anytime in the past. Overall Sikhs may hold the balance of power in around 50 constituencies depending on the commitments by the main parties in the next two months.’
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