Canadian politicians use India-Pakistan cricket clash to woo voters

Prime Minister Stephen Harper playfully swung the bat as he joined Indians and Pakistanis in watching in the match in the Toronto suburb of Brampton which is home to the largest concentration of Indians in the Toronto area.

Not far away from the prime minister, Canada's hottest Indian-origin MP Ruby Dhalla too joined in the excitement of the match during her election campaign in her Brampton-Springdale constituency - or riding as they call it here in this country.

Later in the evening, Dhalla, a former Miss India-Canada runner-up and rated as the third sexiest woman politician by Maxim magazine, threw a celebration party for both Indians and Pakistanis in her constituency.

Inviting everyone to the evening party, she said, "Please join the Re-elect Ruby Dhalla Campaign Team to celebrate the success of both India and Pakistan's performance at the Semi Final World Cricket Cup this morning.''

Parliamentary Secretary (equal to deputy minister) Deepak Obhrai, who is the highest ranking Indo-Canadian in the out-going Conservative government, too joined his supporters in his constituency in Calgary to watch the match.

"Congratulations to India for their victory! It was a great match,'' said the five-time MP from Calgary East.

In Vancouver, Canada's high-profile immigration minister Jason Kenney spent two hours in House of Dosas restaurant to watch the match with hundreds of beer guzzlers. "Our place was jam-packed. The minister was glued to the television for two hours as he enjoyed the India-Pakistan encounter,'' restaurant manager Kesav Sharma told IANS.

Interestingly, even as emotions ran high in India  and Pakistan over the cricketing duel, members of the local India-Pakistan Dosti organization came together to watch the match.

"We - India and Pakistan - are like a family. The family has won today, not India or Pakistan. Indians and Pakistanis sat together and watched this match... there was only excitement, no high emotions because we (Indians and Pakistanis) are one family. MP Ruby Dhalla also joined us,'' said India-Pakistan Dosti founder-chairman Akbar Warris who hails from Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

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