… I belonged to the Asian community, I should contribute so that the local indigenous community would remember that we are a part of the community… At that time I thought I should do something for the community and society and that’s the time when I became a member of the Labour Party and their Panel of Candidates, and fought my first election but I was defeated. In the second year I stood from Queensgate ward and was easily elected, I was there as a councillor until 2007. They were English people, it was a predominantly white English ward that voted for me and they always voted for me. One or two elections I lost, but for 18 years I represented that ward. I think that is the unforgettable thing, and the reward, you have been given by the community. I felt that as I belonged to the Asian community, I should contribute so that the local indigenous community would remember that we are a part of the community and I wanted to build that confidence in the indigenous community.
I will always believe, even though at one stage seven British National Party councillors got elected here that Burnley is a good town and not a racist town. It is the best town to live in. It was very clear to me, because I was involved with regular people from going door-to-door and street to street, that the people were not racist. Outsiders came in and took advantage of the disturbances in Burnley and they helped seven BNP councillors in getting elected. There was another political element at that time because the Burnley Labour Party dominated the whole town and there was no powerful opposition to them, and people wanted some type of opposition. Not everybody likes one party and they need an alternative, and at that time there was no other strong opposition party so when the BNP candidates stood, people overwhelmingly voted for them. That is why I believe strongly that Burnley was not a racist town, it never was and I don’t think it will ever be in the future. That was totally a protest vote. You can see it, over the years, when it happens. It’s died down, they started losing their seats which proved my point.
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