LAST week on the front page of the Southall Gazette, Virendra Sharma MP made some false and outrageous claims that attempted not only to stir up jealousies but also sow seeds of disunity and hatred among different section by pitting one community against another, a particular feature of the politics of the BNP.
In his press release, drafted by his political adviser, he claimed that the Conservative administration had 'stripped millions of pounds from Southall' to spend in Greenford and other parts of the borough.
Despite giving the Gazette detailed facts and figures which comprehensively rebut these claims, my response was edited so heavily that only one side of the story was reported.
Let me put the record straight. Under Labour, Southall suffered with the dirtiest streets, in what the Audit Commission rated as the dirtiest borough in London.
This Conservative administration has lifted the ratio of clean streets from 47 per cent under Labour to over 90 per cent now.
In addition we have made the following direct investments in Southall: invested £1.9million to regenerate Southall town centre, not £1m as claimed by Mr Sharma; invested £2m on new street lighting in Southall; invested well over £3m on road resurfacing in Southall - about as much as the last Labour administration spent across the whole borough.
Despite Labour's stiff opposition, the Conservatives invested £1.5m in a new library and health centre at Jubilee Gardens; delivered 15,000 free-of-cost wheelie bins to Southall residents, which have reduced rats and vermin; reduced the number of parking tickets issued by over 30 per cent compared with Labour; provided nearly a third of new alley gating schemes to Southall, at a cost of £300,000.
Labour issued 383,667 penalty charge notices, which we reduced by 31 per cent. We also removed four yellow boxes which were introduced by the Labour council.
We also removed the bus lane outside Southall station that was introduced by Labour.
Mr Sharma is clearly rattled at the prospect of losing his seat, but he is treading a dangerous path if he thinks he can get a few more votes by provoking jealousies and divisions in the borough. The prime duty of politicians is to unite communities and not divide.
Mr Sharma's record of attending council meetings is far worse than any councillor in the living memory of the council, and his performance as an MP, according to the website www.theyworkfor.you.com, is below average.
He will be well advised to improve his performance rather than issuing press releases containing half truths.
COUNCILLOR GURCHARAN SINGH
Conservative parliamentary candidate
Editor's note: The Gazette always attempts to represent all sides fairly in matters of political debate.