Indians make a splash in Victoria state elections
In a bid to make their presence felt in the Australian political landscape, Victorian-Indians are actively taking part in the upcoming state elections by contesting, campaigning and participating in the polls.
Melbourne: In a bid to make their presence felt in the Australian political landscape, Victorian-Indians are actively taking part in the upcoming state elections by contesting, campaigning and participating in the polls.
Victoria, home to over 110,000 people of Indian-origin, is set to hold its next elections on November 29.
With Indians seen as the fastest growing community in the state, Punjabi emerging as the fastest-growing language and Hinduism being the fastest-growing religion, the diaspora is becoming an active player in politics at all levels.
This year, a dozen Indians would be in the fray from many suburbs, representing several political parties including Liberal, Labor, Greens, Australian Christians and even as an independent candidate.
Sanjay Nathan would represent the Labor Party while the Liberal party has nominated over six candidates, including Amita Gill,?Moti Visa, Phulvinderjit Singh, Gandhi Bevinakoppa and George Varughese.
Three Indians are representing Australian Greens party -- Raj Nayak, Gurm Sekhon and Alexandra Bhathal.
Australian Christians have recruited Gurmender Grewal and Chandra Ojha is contesting as an independent candidate.
A record 896 candidates will be standing this year in the state election and there are 21 registered political parties in Victoria.
There are 789 endorsed candidates of registered political parties standing and 107 independent candidates.
So far, no Indian has ever made to the state parliament and?only four Indians -- Gautam Gupta, Intaj Khan, Tim Lawrence and Oscar Lobo -- have been able to reach as councillors representing the local council bodies.
Gupta, Councillor from Wyndham Vale, said political parties have been non-serious towards Indian diaspora.
"Liberal party did recruit few Indian candidates but no one is going to win as they all are losing seats for the party from those area," Gupta said, adding that "today state Parliament comprises Chinese, Sri Lankan and Cambodian, but no Indian."
Manoj Kumar, a former Labor party contestant, said even though there was a visible representation this time in the state politics, there is no chance for any Indian to win any seat.
Holding a different view, Liberal candidate Phulvinder Singh said "greater representation in political field will help Indians to integrate in the Australian society as well culture."