Following the declaration of results of general elections in the UK on Friday morning, Jalandhar has a reason to smile as four out of a dozen Indian-origin winners in these elections for House of Commons hail from this district. Also, two of the Sikh candidates have also created history. One is the first-turbaned Sikh MP in the UK and the other the first Sikh woman MP.
Among the winners who hail from Jalandhar district are Virendra Sharma, who has won for the 4th time in a row, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, first-turbaned Sikh to become an MP in the UK, Preet Kaur Gill, first Sikh woman to become an MP, and sitting MP Seema Malhotra. All four are from Labour party.
While Dhesi hails from Raipur village in Jalandhar, Gill is from Jamsher Khera village. Sharma’s native village is Mandhali, which was earlier part of Jalandhar district and is now in Nawashahr district of Doaba. Sharma still has his house in Jalandhar’s posh locality of Mota Singh Nagar. His late father, Lekh Raj, had shifted to Jalandhar decades back and served as chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement. Seema Malhotra is from New Jwahar Nagar area of Jalandhar.
“Interestingly, all four are not only from Jalandhar district, but also from one Assembly constituency, which is Jalandhar Cantt segment,” said Paramjit Singh Raipur, SGPC member and real uncle of Dhesi. “Virendra Sharma started life as a bus conductor,” said his niece Nimisha, who is from Phagwara.
Avtar Singh, a relative of Gill in Jamsher village, said it was a big moment for them and their village which she visited February last. Dhesi and Gill are even distant relatives.
In Dhesi’s village of Raipur, sweets were distributed by his family. Dhesi, after his primary education in Chandigarh and in Anadpur Sahib, moved to the UK at the age of 9 along with his uncle Paramjit Singh Raipur as Dhesi’s father was already working in UK then. In the UK, he studied in top universities. Dhesi has already been the youngest Sikh Mayor in the UK. His father Jaspal Singh Dhesi, who runs a construction company in the UK, was the Labour candidate from Gravesham parliamentary constituency in the last elections but lost.