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Who is Shivani Raja, the 29-year-old British MP of Indian origin who took oath on the Bhagavad Gita? – Firstpost

Who is Shivani Raja, the 29-year-old British MP of Indian origin who took oath on the Bhagavad Gita? – Firstpost

29-year-old Indian MP Shivani Raja took the oath of office in the UK Parliament on the Bhagavad Gita on Thursday. Image courtesy @ShivaniRaja/Instagram

Amid a dominant presence of Labour MPs in the UK Parliament, Conservative leader Shivani Raja, 29, has taken centre stage, solemnly taking her oath on the Bhagavad Gita as she was sworn into the House of Commons on Thursday.

In a post on X, Raja posted a video of the swearing-in ceremony. “It was an honour to be sworn into Parliament today to represent Leicester East,” she said in the post. “I was truly proud to pledge my allegiance to His Majesty King Charles on the Gita,” she added.

His triumph was not just personal but historic, marking a sea change in the constituency of Leicester East, a former Labour stronghold that had not seen a Conservative elected for 37 years.

Following the UK’s transformative election, a wave of new MPs flooded into Parliament, including 23 of Indian origin. Alongside Raja, Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East, Bihar-born Labour MP Kanishka Narayan and Opposition Leader Rishi Sunak also took their oaths on the Bhagavad Gita.

But who is Shivani Raja and how did she manage to capture the Labour stronghold of Leicester East? Let’s take a closer look

1. Shivani Raja, born in 1994, is from Leicester. Her father, a Gujarati, emigrated from Kenya in the 1970s, while her mother moved from Rajkot. They settled in Rushey Mead, Leicestershire, where they made their home.

2. The Indian-origin MP graduated from De Montfort University with a degree in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Sciences and has worked with several major cosmetics brands in England, gaining valuable business experience.

3. According to The Times of India, Raja is also actively involved in her family’s business, focusing on real estate construction and hospitality.

4. Raja’s political breakthrough came when she managed to break the Labour Party’s 37-year hold on Leicester East. She secured a victory with 14,526 votes, defeating Labour’s Rajesh Agrawal, the former Deputy Mayor of London, who received 10,100 votes.

Following the announcement of the election results, Raja stressed the need for change, declaring on X: “It really is time for a change… and that change is Leicester going blue.”

5. During her campaign, Raja made significant efforts to connect with the British-Indian community in Leicester. She participated in traditional garba dance events, visited temples, and appeared alongside Surat Mayor Daxesh Mavani to highlight her ties to her Indian roots.

During her campaign, Raja made significant efforts to connect with the British-Indian community in Leicester. She participated in a traditional garba dance event and visited temples. Image courtesy: @shivaniraja/Instagram

6. In 2022, Leicester saw clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities after a cricket match between India and Pakistan, The Guardian reported.

In The Times of India’s report, Raja noted that after the incident, people were “disappointed” and “lost faith in politicians” as previous MPs had not supported them during the riots and “immediately blamed Hindus before talking to anyone”. But when she decided to contest the elections, people saw her as a “breath of fresh air”.

7. According to Raja’s website, she aims to improve streets, roads and hospitals, increase community cohesion, support local businesses and take a tougher approach to illegal immigration, as promised by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

With the contribution of agencies

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