Sikh activist Dilawer Potiwal says many in his community do not feel represented as he calls on politicians not to ignore minority voices.
As Britain prepares to head to the polls on Thursday, the Bristol East constituent says he will be voting and encouraging everyone he knows to have their say in this General Election, but he feel issues and concerns of some groups are not highlighted enough by the mainstream parties.
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“Both nationally and locally, I have heard all the parties speak and they do not speak about the UK’s smaller communities,” says Potiwal.
“I understand they are after votes so targeting bigger communities makes sense, but sometimes it hurts that they are always talking about certain communities but not all communities, such as Sikhs.
“I’m based in Bristol East and I have always been a voter and I always try to say to others in the community ‘go and use your vote’. We are all educated people, so I say look at policies and decide who to vote for, who represents you best.
“We want politicians to listen to all communities, even the smaller ones, and I don’t feel this is happening enough in Bristol.
“My community feel they do not get the attention.”
Potiwal says the dietary requirements of Sikhs are often not met in schools and other institutions.
Referencing the UK Sikh surveys of 2016 and 2019, he states more than 22 per cent of Sikhs have directly experienced discrimination in the workplace, an increase of 33 per cent in three years. One in five have encountered discrimination in public places in the last year.
Potiwal adds: “Political parties are struggling to get the vast majority of Sikh voters to identify with them.
“Still, I request all of the Sikh communities to not waste their vote because voting is your fundamental right and if we vote, we can make changes both locally and nationally.
“You have to ask yourself who is going to be best for you and your family.”