In mid March this year, many Sikh households in and around Southall in London, the United Kingdom, received a letter from the British prime minister, David Cameron. In it, he encouraged them to vote for the Conservative Party candidate, Zac Goldsmith, in the upcoming mayoral elections in May. The letter came as a surprise to many of the recipients. While it was common for politicians from Punjab to come and woo Punjabi Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the UK during election times in India, it was perhaps the first time that the Conservative Party—colloquially the Tory party—had made such blatant overtures to win the votes of the Punjabi and Sikh community of London.
“The Sikh and Punjabi communities make an extraordinary contribution to London and to Britain, whether in business and enterprise, raising families, or building stronger, more united communities,” Cameron stated in his letter. “In government I have been determined to listen and act on your concerns.” Cameron also mentioned his visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which he characterized as a “deeply moving experience.” He told the voters that, as an MP, Goldsmith has consistently championed the Sikh community in his constituency, and that he would do the same as mayor of London. “I know he will be battering down my door to get the best possible deal for Londoners,” Cameron wrote.