Record number of Asian candidates contesting UK poll

Valerie Vaz, sister of prominent Goa-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz, is among the candidates of Asian origin contesting the polls.The current number of 89 Asian-origin candidates includes 30 from the Conservative party, which is widely expected to win the elections or emerge as the largest single party in the event of a hung Parliament.

In the 2005 elections, there were 68 such candidates and the highest number of ethnic minority MPs – 15 – were declared elected.

The May 6 election is likely to break the record with several organisations, including Operation Black Vote (OBV), actively encouraging ethnic minorities to participate in the voting process.

Campaigners believe that voters from the Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities could determine the outcome in as many as 100 constituencies during the May 6 elections.
Simon Woolley, OBV's director, said: "Never before in British history have our communities been so strategically well placed and mobilised to push for an agenda of racial justice."
However, a recent survey revealed that unlike people of Indian origin, there is less enthusiasm among Asians with origins in Pakistan and Bangladesh to vote.

A survey conducted by the BBC Asian Network over the Easter period revealed that people of Indian origin are the most enthusiastic.The survey said just over four in 10 Asian voters intend to make the trip to the ballot box, which is a lower figure than the population at large.According to a recent ICM Guardian poll, 55 per cent of the general population is expected to vote.In 2005, voting percentage was higher among the Asian community than the general population.

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