Indian-Origin Candidate On How He Plans To Win London Mayoral Polls

The London Mayor polls are scheduled for May 2.

Tarun Ghulati, Indian-origin candidate in race for London Mayor

Social service is down. Health service is down. Security is down. That's the London assessment by Tarun Ghulati, the Indian-origin candidate in the race to challenge Pak-origin Sadiq Khan from winning a third term as Mayor of London. The polls are scheduled for May 2.

The 63-year-old, standing as an Independent candidate among 13 contestants, wants to bring the smile and mojo back for London.

"The current incumbent, Sadiq Khan, has brought London to a standstill. Crime has never been worse. It's the most congested city in the world, the slowest city in the world, and you'll be surprised. 21 teenagers lost their lives last year and over 1,000 murders under his watch over the last eight years. And you know there's a need for a levelling up agenda," Mr Ghulati told NDTV in an exclusive interview, slamming his opponent, who has been London Mayor since 2016.

Safety on the streets of the city is among his major priorities, with visible community policing and more officers.

"I come as a voice for the people. I am an independent candidate for mayor. I was mugged on my own high street, so that's how bad crime is," he said.

Asked about how he plans to win, pat came the reply: "I will win this election if everybody comes out to vote". Mr Ghulati, who has a shadow cabinet in place, underlined that his family has been involved in public service over the last three centuries, adding he has been doing the same for 35-odd years.

"I'm going to bring in advisers from different communities so that they have all the answers. Because I've been going around the boroughs and I get to see new problems, different areas, different communities. I'll bring in those advisors which I've already formed a list of. They will again come in. Then I'm going to tackle crime with a fervour never seen before," he said elaborating his plans for London.

"We have got to make sure we bring the mojo back for London and the smile is back on the face of everyone. So I'm going to tackle like a good seasoned CEO. I have a dashboard. I'm going to look at it in a holistic basis," he said.

The businessman, who has been on the board of various companies, said his multicultural experience will prove to be an advantage for him.

"It's a great advantage, but none of the other candidates have that advantage. They make gaps. They don't understand cultural advances. I've lived across continents. I've lived in India where people thrive in harmony and live together. I've lived all over the world. That gives me a strength. It gives me knowledge. It gives me a know how, and it gives me the people to people interaction because that moment of truth is lost when you can't interact with people. The current politicians in the fray lack that," said the businessman, who also speaks many languages, adding that he will create funds and will not be limited by the 21 billion sterling budget.

"I've been a banker, a chairman. I've sat on several boards. I advise a lot of entities, including dealing with law enforcement. So I'm a strategic advisor to the global cyber life. So none of these people would talk of policing, understand policing like I do. So, as a chairman, I will bring in money. They make excuses to the people. The government is not giving us money. I want to. I view London as a global bank with different cultures and entities and communities. Come here and they thrive. This is one of the greatest financial centres in the world. And that's where I come from. I have the most experience of any one of them. They haven't seen budgets like this, most of them none of the independents, none of the political candidates. They're just playing with the sentiments of people," he said.

Asked if he has drawn from his Delhi experience to bring about changes here, he said: "I've taken a leaf out of Delhi's books, certainly, and India, where I grew up for the first 35 years, which has taught me to take all the religions and all cultures and all genders along."

The winning mayoral candidate will be responsible for all local issues affecting Londoners, from transport and policing to housing and the environment.

"I'm a person of Indian origin. I take a lot of pride in that all over the world. But I am a man of the world, having lived all over the world. So I'm a proud Londoner batting for London and I'll be the next mayor of London for the Londoners," said the businessman.