Londoners will vote for a new leader on May 2, when Labour’s Sadiq Khan goes to the electorate with the hope of winning a third four-year term as Mayor of London. Ahead of the elections, iGlobal connected with British Indian candidate Tarun Ghulati – who is standing as an independent candidate – to find out more about his campaign, his vision for the city and his connect with the diaspora.
How has the response been to your ongoing campaign?
Initially people said, “hey, if you don't belong to one of the two parties, you don't have a chance, it's an uphill task.” And I would tell them, look, I got strong legs, I'll climb that hill.
I didn't have any social media handles until a just over a month back, and now have tens of thousands of followers. On LinkedIn, I get blessings, encouragement and strength from people who write comments - whether it's the chairman of one of the largest banks in the world or just somebody sitting somewhere in a little village in India, they're reaching out to me worldwide, and that's giving me a lot of strength. I think I can beat, and I will beat, Mr. Sadiq Khan on May the 2nd and become the next mayor of London.
But I've got many things to do as we speak. I want to make sure I take the communities along. As I hinted earlier, there are over 270 nations whose diaspora live here. And I want to make sure I do good for everybody because they need opportunity, and the youth needs something to look forward to so they have a bright future.
I want to make sure it becomes the same buzzing, thriving city for Londoners. I want to bring the mojo is back. There is so much scope and that’s why my campaign is picking up steam with different communities. I go to churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, and people are coming together, and we've still got time. I look forward to getting support from all Londoners and they give me a lot of strength to go on and win this.
MORE LIKE THIS…
What is your connection like with the Indian diaspora?
My relationship with the diaspora has been spectacular and growing since I've entered this contest.
The Indian diaspora, firstly, is very entrepreneurial here. Indians are very hardworking and wherever they go, they contribute a lot. At the same time, I do find that people have started to think mainly for themselves a little bit. Some don't realise that when we live in a country like the UK, we must make sure we contribute a little more; for instance, through making sure they are voting. When it comes around the chance to vote, they need to register for vote.
There are over in over 270 odd communities London, and over 300 languages spoken, a lot of which are Indian languages. I hope to bring more unity within the diaspora. In other words, people seem to be talking of the living bridge between UK and India, but not living it. I want to bring that bridge thriving again because there are so many things we can do.
There's a free trade agreement which is to be signed between India and the UK. There's going to be huge opportunity between the two countries. I've been doing a lot of work on that front by bringing businesses from India to the UK and vice versa.
Having lived here for 20 years, I've been engaging with, and trying to do good for, the community regularly. There is also a lot more that can be done to continue our success as a community through small, day-to-day engagement, coming together and showing unity. We all find our roots in the same nation and it's perhaps the finest nation in the world.
Prime Minister Modi ji has done a tremendous job in showcasing India on the global stage. The current External Affairs Minister, Dr Jaishankar, has also done the same, and I think we need to do the same. Each of us has a duty and a lot of people look up to us. As a Hindu, I believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, where I genuinely believe the world is one family. If you can work together as communities, then we will thrive even more.
MORE LIKE THIS…
Who has been your inspiration in this journey?
I think it's my parents. I've looked up to my father all my life, and he's taught me several things which I still try to imbibe and follow. Even more, however, it has been my mother who, unfortunately, is not so well. She's been admitted to the ICU as we speak. But when she could recognise me and when I told her that I'm trying to do something good, like our family has done for centuries, she gave me her ashirwad, as in her blessings, and that means a lot to me. She's always inspired us and kept us together. She was a homemaker. She never worked elsewhere. But myself and my two sisters were always loved by her and enjoyed her cooking. And I hope she gets well soon. Her blessings mean a lot to me. I'm certain that'll carry me through and carry me through to become the mayor of London.
MORE LIKE THIS…
Anything you would like to add?
Winning as an independent candidate for mayor of London has not been done by anyone yet. Yes, there was a candidate earlier, but he was part of a political party, and he was a long-standing politician. I think politicians have blurred the vision for London. London doesn't need politics anymore. They need somebody to run as a mayor who can help everyone to thrive and have opportunities. And I believe I offer that vision. I ask everybody to please join me, support me. We can win this election. I would urge everybody to look at my social media handles and try and support me in whichever way they can. And we do it together. We will win this together. That'll be my humble request.