Cricketer Monty Panesar hopes to oust Virendra Sharma in UK election with George Galloway’s party

Cricketer Monty Panesar hopes to oust Virendra Sharma in UK election with George Galloway's party

LONDON: Former England international cricketer Monty Panesar has announced he is standing for left-wing firebrand George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain in the UK general election, hoping to oust veteran Labour MP British Indian Virendra Sharma who has held the Ealing Southall seat since 2007.
Galloway, who is popular among Muslims for his pro-Palestine and anti-Israel stance, unveiled 500 candidates — including former Tory, Lib Dems and Labour councillors and a former Tory member of European Parliament — outside the UK Parliament on Tuesday.Panesar (42), a Sikh born in Luton to parents who emigrated from Punjab, India, was the headline inclusion. He said:“I am here to represent the working-class people of this country. When I played cricket for England, I got so much support from the public, and now it is my time to give back and make sure the gap between rich and poor gets closer.”
He hopes to unseat Punjab-born Sharma, (77), who has a majority of 16,000. Twenty-eight per cent of Southall residents are Sikh, 24% are Muslim and 14% are Hindu, according to the latest census.
A left-arm spinner, Panesar made his Test cricket debut in 2006 against India in Nagpur when Sachin Tendulkar was his first wicket. He played 50 Tests for England between 2006 and 2013, taking 167 wickets, and was the first Sikh to represent a nation other than India in Test cricket.
Galloway (69) was elected as his party’s first MP when he won the Rochdale byelection in Feb in a landslide victory. The seat had been held by Labour for 14 years. Rochdale has a sizeable Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim population.

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