Sundip Meghani Resigns from Labour Even Though He Says Sir Keir Starmer is “a respectable man who is not a deluded Marxist”

Up until 2015 former Leicester Labour Councillor Sundip Meghani thought he had found a place his could call home in a thoroughly pro-capitalist Labour Party – a party in which he had been active member since the time that Tony Blair was first elected. This however all changed in 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the leadership of the Labour Party, even though most of the leadership positions of the party were (and still are) dominated by rightwingers.

Yet Meghani couldn’t ever work out how to combine his support for far-right politicians like India’s Narendra Modi with the simple fact that the majority of Labour’s rank and file membership chose a socialist to lead their party. So Meghani has spent the past five years trying to eradicate the threat that socialist ideas posed to his own right-wing worldview.

But even getting a fellow capitalist back in charge of the Labour Party was not good enough for Meghani, and on August 15, 2020, on India’s Independence Day, he chose to resign from the Labour Party – a political organization that he alleges is “anti-Indian, anti-Semitic” and apparently dominated by “bigotry and intolerance”. As he asserted in his resignation letter:

“Post-Jeremy Corbyn I have come to realise the problem was not merely Corbynism, it was socialism. Socialism was the toxic oil spill that washed ashore, polluting the party with hatefulness and division.”

Indeed, as Meghani sees it:

“Despite the election of Sir Keir Starmer, a respectable man who is not a deluded Marxist, I have seen no evidence that sensible values will be restored; and that socialism, as an oppressive totalitarian ideology, will be ditched forever.”

It was his thoroughgoing repulsion to basic socialist ideas that helps us understand how deeply hollowed-out the Labour Party had become in the decades prior to Corbyn’s time at the helm of the party. It also explains why in the weeks running up to last years General Election Meghani busied himself with smearing the Labour Party with claims of anti-Indian racism. Of course the mainstream media were happy to allow Meghani to loudly air his nonsensical charges of anti-Indian racism, a case in point being the so-called investigation undertaken by the BBC that was aired in mid-November (see below).

The BBC ‘investigation’ shown above begins by interviewing Meghani, letting him moan about the selection of Claudia Webbe (a socialist) to represent the constituency of Leicester East following the last-minute resignation of Keith Vaz, a well-known BJP-supporter and all-round war-monger.

Following in Vaz’s right-wing political footsteps, Meghani was particularly aghast that Webbe had acted as the chair of the Labour Party conference which had democratically passed a motion that dared to criticise the Indian government over their ongoing violations of human rights in Kashmir. After the BBC introduced some background to this motion — subtly undermining the motions legitimacy by stating that it was only “claiming” that there was a humanitarian crisis in Kashmir — the BBC cut back to Meghani who moaned that Webbe now “had the audacity to want to stand-up for what, for the Indian community in Leicester?” The reporter then asked him if he was the only person to feel this way, and Meghani kindly pointed him in the direction of Belgrave Road, saying that people there agreed with him: by which Meghani meant that leading rightwing Labour members (his political allies) agreed with him.

Surprise, surprise the first person that the BBC interviewed on Belgrave Road was the longstanding chairman of the Belgrave Business Association, Dharmesh Lakhani, who is the owner of Bobby’s Restaurant. But Lakhani is not just any old shop keeper, as in 2017 he had served as one of Keith Vaz’s Parliamentary Agents for Belgrave, while the previous year Vaz had used his restaurant to host an invitation only meeting where the guest speaker was none other than the now little-remembered Labour leadership contender Owen Smith. During the BBC interview Lakhani explained how he had obtained viral whatsapp messages on his mobile phone warning him not to vote Labour. Lakhani then showed the reporter a message he had received from his cousin in Canada scrolling to an anti-Corbyn news item originating from India which was attached to a message that said: “Please forward this to as many Indians in UK as possible so you vote Labour out.” Yet it was the message prior to this one, that Lakhani quickly scrolled past, that proved even more revealing in its explicit embrace of far-right talking points. It said:

“I hope you forward on this message to as many people in Britain as you can. If Muslims are not stopped they will rule Britain in the future and your children will suffer.”

bbc interview
Screen shot from BBC investigation

The reporter then stated that he had interviewed a variety of people on Belgrave Road “for a good few hours”. But it turned out that the only other person who would appear on screen in the BBC ‘investigation’ was another Vaz ally. This Labour Party member happened to be another wealthy businessman (the owner of Anokhi House of Sarees) named Karan Modha who explained that he was “angry, frustrated, and slightly hurt” and that he would not be voting for Labour in the General Election. In fact during the General Election, Modha actually distributed his own anti-Labour leaflet, and probably ditched Labour for the Conservative Party, as this was the party from which he had been a former member before being persuaded to join Vaz’s anti-democratic operations in 2015.

Other right-wing Labour councillors who no doubt would have been happy to stick the knife into the Labour Party if given a chance by the BBC would have included the former chairman of Leicester East CLP, John Thomas, a “key ally” of Vaz who quit the Labour Party just before the election,[1] or any of the six Leicester councillors who published an open letter just before the election that led to an article in the local press titled “Labour Leicester East councillors accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being ‘anti-Indian’ and ‘anti-Hindu’” (Leicester Mercury, December 11).[2]

ELgcF3iXUAI9ypF

NOTES

[1] As I wrote at the time: “It took thirty odd years but Mr Thomas has just worked out that he was in the wrong party. Another victim of Keith Vaz’s destructive legacy in the Labour Party.

“Bizarrely in the resignation letter he sent to the General Secretary of the Labour Party Mr Thomas added: ‘Please cancel the direct debit made in favour of your party by me and return all money’s taken by you through Leicester City Council Labour Group to me.’ I wonder what money he is talking about?” (November 18, Facebook)

[2] In this letter the six Labour councillors signed an open letter addressed to the Labour Party that noted that the Labour Party “appears to have a proactive policy of keeping British Hindus out of parliamentary seats”. The right-wing BJP-supporting councillors ended their letter to Corbyn threatening: “We are currently considering whether we can any longer remain in the Labour Party that has become both anti-Hindu and anti-Indian.” The six signatures to this letter were Ratilal Govind, Rashmi Joshi, Hemant Bhatia, Nita Solanki, Padmini Chamund, and Mahendra Valand (the last three being Labour councillors for Belgrave).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s