LONDON: Two Indian-origin candidates are lined up to go head-to-head for the post of Leicester Mayor in the local elections coming up in the UK early next month.
Conservative Party councillor Sanjay Modhwadia will compete with Rita Patel, a former Labour councillor who announced her bid recently in order to scrap the role. Ms Patel, a Rushey Mead councillor from Leicester who will run as an independent, launched her campaign saying the city needed “a fresh start” and promised one of her first jobs will be to remove the mayoral role.
Sitting Labour Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, expressed disappointment at Ms Patel’s exit from the party after she was one of four city councillors suspended for six months for their attempt to scrap the mayor’s office through a vote at a council meeting last month.
Now the Tories have confirmed Mr Modhwadia, a city councillor for North Evington, as their candidate to challenge Mr Soulsby – who has held the job since it was created 12 years ago.
He was in the eye of the storm when Leicester witnessed sectarian clashes last September following an India-Pakistan cricket match.
Mr Modhwadia, a local businessman, has been campaigning to push for a “Made in Leicester” brand to improve the city’s perception around the globe.
While the Tories and Rita Patel have both said they want to get rid of the mayoral role, Leicester’s Green Party has promised a public referendum on the matter. The Green Party have chosen Mags Lewis – who also stood in 2019, finishing third – will be their candidate.
The election is scheduled for May 4 and anyone elected may just go on to have a short stay in office.
“Many local residents have contacted our party in recent months to suggest that this is something we should do and our members have also voted in favour of removing the position of City Mayor,” Richard Tutt, Chair of the City of Leicester Conservatives told ‘Leicester Mercury’.
Many in the eastern England city believe the Leader of the Council system is more democratic and accountable for the people of Leicester.