Shivani Raja: Gujarati-Origin Woman Makes History in UK Parliament

29-Year-Old Indian-Origin Gujarati Businesswoman Shivani Raja Takes Oath on Bhagavad Gita in British Parliament

Shivani Raja, a 29-year-old Indian-origin Gujarati businesswoman, has taken the oath on the Bhagavad Gita in the British Parliament. Shivani achieved a historic victory for the Conservative Party in the Leicester East seat, ending the Labour Party’s 37-year dominance in the area. She contested the election against Indian-origin Labour Party candidate Rajesh Agrawal.

Immediately after taking the oath as a UK MP, Shivani wrote on Instagram: “It is an honor to take the oath in Parliament to represent Leicester East. I am truly proud to take the oath of allegiance to His Majesty King Charles on the Gita.”

Notably, in 2022, there were clashes between the Hindu community of Indian origin and Muslims in Leicester city following a T20 Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan. Considering this, Shivani’s victory is significant. Shivani defeated former London Deputy Mayor Agrawal, securing 14,526 votes.

This victory is also noteworthy because Leicester East has been a Labour stronghold since 1987. Besides Shivani, 27 other Indian-origin MPs have been elected to the House of Commons in the general elections held on July 4th in the United Kingdom.

Who is Shivani Raja?

According to DeshGujarat, Shivani Raja is of Gujarati origin. During the British elections, Raja spent a significant amount of time engaging with British-Indian voters. Shivani Raja was born in Leicester, UK. She studied at Herrick Primary, Soar Valley College, Wigston, and Queen Elizabeth II College.

Gujarati-origin businesswoman Shivani Raja defeated Labour candidate Rajesh Agrawal, former Deputy Mayor of London, who came in second with 10,100 votes. Leicester East had been held by the Labour Party since 1987. Shivani Raja was born in Leicester; her mother came to the UK from Rajkot, and her father, who is Gujarati, migrated from Kenya in the 1970s. Raja told the Times of India that voters were very disappointed, which is why she received tremendous support from the people.

Why is Shivani’s Victory Historic?

Gujarati-origin candidate Shivani Raja has won the Leicester East seat, where former MPs Claudia Webbe and Keith Vaz once stood. She also defeated London’s Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal, who ran as an independent candidate. Shivani’s victory is particularly significant because Leicester East has been considered a stronghold of the Labour Party, and this is the first time in 37 years that a Conservative Party candidate has won there. In the 2024 general election, Shivani Raja secured 14,526 votes, leading Labour candidate Rajesh Agrawal by 4,426 votes.

The new House of Commons has elected the largest number of women in its history, with about 263 women MPs, making up nearly 40% of the total.

The Labour Party won 412 seats in the 650-member House of Commons, an increase of 211 seats compared to the previous 2019 election. Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party won only 121 seats, which is 250 seats fewer than in the previous election. The Labour Party had a vote share of 33.7%, while the Conservative Party had a vote share of 23.7%.

How Many Indian-Origin Candidates in the UK Election?

Shivani Raja commented on her victory, saying, “Previous MPs were not really standing up for the people, so they lost faith in politicians. They were also disappointed that previous MPs were not standing up for Leicester during the riots and were quick to blame Hindus before getting the facts.” In this election, the Conservative Party fielded 30 Indian-origin candidates, while the Labour Party fielded 33 Indian-British candidates. Additionally, the Liberal Democrats had 11, the Green Party 13, Reform UK 13, and other parties had 7 Indian-origin candidates in the election.

Niyati Rao

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