Tamhkeen Shaikh, who is standing for the Conservatives in Barking, has highlighted a highly inflammatory text sent round in support of Labour to British Muslims demanding that they vote for Corbyn’s party. The round robin text to British Muslims, which carried details of how to register to vote but was not officially from Labour, pointed out the Indian Hindus will be voting Conservative “to punish Labour” for voting to support Kashmiris at the last annual conference. It even named an owner of a restaurant in Leicester who had been encouraging Hindus to vote Conservative and called on Muslims to boycott his business.
Mrs Shaikh likened Labour’s tactics to the ones used in her native India which has led to violence between different religious groups.
The 40-year-old journalist from the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, who first came as a student to the UK 14 years ago, has also dismissed claims that the Conservatives and Boris Johnson are Islamophobic.
She insisted that Islamophobia is “a problem created by Labour”.
She said: “Back home in India, politicians’ business is dividing the communities. That is what they do between Hindus and Muslims.
“That is what Labour is trying to instigate over here. I was so upset.
“I told a friend ‘a party that is fighting an election dividing the communities is not the right party to vote.’ A party that thinks about progress and inclusive that’s the party.”
The mother of two, who wears a hijab, said she had not been offended by a controversial article written by Boris Johnson defending women wearing the burka but describing it as looking like “a letter box”.
One of Mrs Shaikh’s sister wears a burka out of choice but she said that Mr Johnson’s words had been twisted.
She said: “I absolutely believe the Conservative Party is not Islamophobic.
“The Conservative Party will have an independent inquiry before the end of this year. It is a very good move Boris Johnson has taken.
“As far as I am concerned, Boris Johnson has nailed it. He has said I am sorry if people have got hurt and I will make sure I deal with it. We have not heard anything like that from Jeremy Corbyn.”
Instead, Mrs Shaikh has said that people need to support parties for their values and got involved with politics because she was angered by “the one party state” of Labour running Barking and the effect on her son’s school which led to her becoming a parent governor.
She said: “I believe we should have a progressive politics where we talk about issues and policies and pledges a government makes and economically what is going to be better for all of us.
“Because I come from a business background, my father had a business, I saw how he was struggling and striving really hard to move forward it really inspired me.
“The way of progressing is education and being economically strong and that is the way Conservatives leads. That is why I joined in 2014 just after the local elections.”
She now has started up a Conservative Association in Barking and hopes to be the candidate longterm and believes she can win the seat from the “rarely seen” Labour veteran Dame Margaret Hodge.
Mrs Shaikh, who campaigned for Brexit, also wants to see control on immigration.
She said: “One of the key things about Brexit is I want controlled immigration so that we exactly know how many are entering the country.
“I have seen the changes that happened in school and the NHS. Every year in my children’s class we have non-English speakers joining. I’m not against immigration, you cannot stop immigration, it is the globalisation that is going on at the moment but it needs to be controlled.”