Shivani Raja: Immediately blamed Hindus after Leicester riots: Shivani Raja on former MP Claudia Webbe after winning | World News

Shivani Raja: Immediately blamed Hindus after Leicester riots: Shivani Raja on former MP Claudia Webbe after winning | World News

While it was a poor electoral showing for the Tories, one of their bright sparks was winning in the Labour stronghold of Leicester. Against all odds, the Tories manage to win the seat of Leicester East, a seat they hadn’t won since 1987. The bright spark was provided by Shivani Raja, a Gujarati-origin businesswoman who beat Labour’s Rajesh Agrawal, the former Deputy Mayor London.Raja got 14,526 votes while Agrawal got 10,100 votes.

Leicester was at the centre of attention that was rocked by riots in 2022, something Raja spoke about after winning in her victory speech. Raja told The Times of India voters felt very disenfranchised and backed her as she was local, unlike some other candidates who had been “parachuted in”. She said: “They (voters) had lost faith in politicians as previous MPs had not really stood for the people. There was no one standing that was relatable and people saw me as a breath of fresh air. They were also disappointed that the previous MP did not stand up for Leicester during the riots and immediately blamed Hindus before speaking to anyone.”
Raja was referring to former Labour MP Claudia Webbe who was expelled tom Labour after being found guilty of harassing a love rival. Webbe had said after the Leicester riots when groups clashed after the India vs Pakistan match in the Asia Cup 2022: “The reality is that we have fringe elements led and inspired by extremism and right-wing ideology rearing its head in the UK and in the peaceful city of Leicester. If we do not understand the root cause this will spread beyond Leicester to other areas. The government needs to intervene and ensure that social media platforms stop this from getting much, much worse.”
Shivani Raja was born in Leicester. Her mother had moved to UK from Rajkot, while her father came from Kenya in the 1970s.
Earlier, Claudia Webbe had also earned the ire of New Delhi, leading to a strong rebuke by the Indian High Commission in London. In an open letter addressed to Webbe, it said: “The efforts continue – but Government of India is more than aware of efforts by vested interests abroad to fuel the protests through misinformation and incendiary assertions that are not helpful in progressing the dialogue between the protesters and Government or addressing the issues through the democratic processes that our people have traditionally relied on.”
Claudia Webbe, the former MP of Leicester East, was expelled by Labour. She was also convicted of harassing a love rival and handed a suspended sentence. In 2022, she had lost an appeal against her conviction, though her sentence was reduced. She was convicted of harassing Michelle Merritt between September 2018 and April 2020. Her 10-week suspended sentence she received in November was whittled down to 80 hours of community service. She was also asked to pay £50 compensation to the victim instead of £1,000.
Prosecutors claimed that Webbe’s 18-month harassment campaign as driven by “obsession” and “jealousy” over her boyfriend Lester Thomas’ relationship with Merritt. During the trial, it was said that she had called Merritt a slag, threatened to “use acid” and also distribute naked pictures of Merritt to her family.
Webbe came in fourth place in this year’s election with 5,532 votes behind Shivani Raja (14,526), Rajesh Agrawal (10,100) and Zuffar Haq (6,329). She did get more votes than former Labour MP Keith Vaz who got 3,681 votes.

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