UK Elections: 3 Bangladeshi-origin women in spotlight | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:19 AM, June 08, 2017

UK Elections: 3 Bangladeshi-origin women in spotlight

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Three Bangladeshi-origin women candidates drew an extra focus in media, several of those dubbing them as Bangladesh's "tin kanya" or “three daughters" as Britain goes to snap general elections today.

Fourteen candidates of Bangladeshi origin are contesting in the polls but Bangabandhu's granddaughter Tulip Rizwana Siddiq, Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq grabbed most public attention while all the three were fielded by the opposition Labour Party.

The number of Bangladeshi-origin candidates in 2015 UK polls was 11, of which the “three daughters” recorded victory. Their success appeared to have partly encouraged three more having identical nationalistic background to vie the crucial elections after Britain's exit from European Union (EU), known as Brexit.

Of the 14 candidates, eight including the "three daughters" are contesting as Labour Party candidates, one as Liberal Democrat, one as Friends Party nominee and 4 as independent contenders.

But unlike others, the “three daughters” -- Tulip, Sheikh Rehana's daughter and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's niece, Rushanara and Rupa -- are in an advantageous position since they are elected members of British parliament.

The elections gave them an extra edge as they are competing from the constituencies which elected them to parliament only two years ago.

Of the rests two are women -- Marina Ahmed and Raushan Ara -- both candidates of Labour Party which also nominated Bangladeshi-British Anwar Babul Miah, Foysol Chowdhury and Abdullah Rumel Khan in the polls.

Saju Miah is standing as a Liberal Democrats candidate, while Afzal Choudhry is competing from the Friends Party.

Ajmal Masroor, Oliur Rahman, Abu Nowshed and Mirza Zillur are contesting as independent candidates.

Tulip is fighting to retain her seat in crucial Hampstead and Kilburn constituency in London having Liberal Democrat Kirsty Allan, Conservative Claire-Louise Leyland, Green Party's John Mansook and independent candidates Hugh Easterbrook and Rainbow George Weiss as her rivals.

Rushanara is contesting from Bangalee-dominated Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. Other candidates fighting for the seat are Charlotte Chirico (Conservative), William Dyer (Liberal Democrat), Alistair Polson (Green Party), Ian de Wulveron (UKIP) and Ajmal Masroor (independent).

Rupa is vying to retain her Ealing Central and Acton seat, one of the most hotly contested seats in today's polls. Two other candidates fighting for the seat are Joy Morrissey (Conservative) and John Ball (Liberal Democrat).

The UK last went to polls on May 7, 2015, when the conservatives came to power by winning the majority of 331 seats out of the 650 available in the parliament.

As many as 11 Bangladesh-origin candidates vied for seats in the House of Commons through this election. Seven candidates were nominated by Ed Miliband's main opposition Labour Party, while three from Liberal Democrats and one from Conservative Party.

Of the 11, most public interest and media focus were on Tulip, Rushanara and Rupa Huq in the May 7, 2015 parliamentary polls in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, the three became victorious in the topsy-turvy polls and the tightest race in Britain's recent history.

In that polls, Tulip was elected an MP in British Parliament from crucial Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, the top of the most 10 contested seats in London, on Labour Party ticket.

After the election, Tulip was inducted into the shadow cabinet of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and joined Shadow Minister of Education Angela Rayner's team of four as the Shadow Minister of Early Years education.

She, however, resigned as the shadow minister following Jeremy Corbyn's decision to impose a three-line whip on Labour MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50.

Born in Mitcham, London in 1982, Tulip completed two Master's degrees -- one in English literature and another in Politics, Policy and Government -- from King's College London. She was a former councillor in Regent's Park and Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities in Camden Council.

Tulip, who became the first Bengali woman councillor in Camden Council in May 2010, first contested the parliamentary polls in 2015.

Rushanara retained her seat in 2015 from East London's Bethnal Green and Bow constituency with a majority of 24,317 votes. She secured 32,387 votes, while her nearest rival Conservative candidate Mathew Smith bagged 8,070 votes.

Hailing from Biswanath in Sylhet, Rushanara was appointed UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy for Bangladesh after the 2015 elections.

Rupa was elected in the last UK general elections from Ealing Central and Acton constituency by bagging 22,002 votes. Her nearest rival Conservative Party-backed Angie Bray obtained 21,728 votes.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on April 18 called for an early election in less than two months, clearly anxious that her thin majority in parliament would weaken her hand in complicated negotiations on the British exit from the European Union.

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