UK: Poll leaflet with Modi pic sparks row

London

The UK’s Opposition Labour Party was branded “divisive” and “anti-India” by Indian diaspora groups after a party leaflet for a byelection in northern England used an image of PM Modi.

The leaflet, in circulation for the Batley and Spen by-poll in West Yorkshire scheduled for Thursday, shows Modi in a handshake with Conservative Party PM Boris Johnson at the G7 Summit in 2019 with the message “Don’t risk a Tory MP who is not on your side”.

It triggered furious reactions across social media after Tory MP Richard Holden posted an image of it on Twitter, questioning if it implies Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer would not be seen in a handshake with the Indian PM. “Dear Keir Starmer, please can you explain this leaflet and clarify whether a Labour PM/ poli­tician would refuse to have any relationship with the world’s largest democracy? Is this your message to 1.5 million+ members of the Indian diaspora in UK,” questioned the Conservative Friends of India diaspora organisation.

The outrage was echoed from within the Labour ran­ks, with the Labour Friends of India diaspora group demanding the “immediate withdrawal” of the leaflet.

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