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'I come from a country where toxic air is a big issue': India-born UK mayoral candidate

IANS | January 12, 2024 11:28 AM

LONDON: An India-born investment banker, standing as an independent in the 2024 London Mayoral election, has said that he comes from a country where toxic air is a big issue, and wants things to be "greener and more effective" in the British capital.

Tarun Ghulati told The Standard newspaper that he was entering the race, due to be held on May 2 this year, to "get London moving again" as the capital has "lot its mojo".

"I certainly come from a country where toxic air is a big issue and I believe we should work towards making things greener and more effective, " Ghulati, who expects to be polling ahead of the Liberal Democrat and Green candidates within six weeks, told The Standard.

Having lived in London for more than 20 years, the 63-year-old said he wants to completely scrap the Ultra low emission zone (ULEZ), remove the congestion charge on weekends and abolish low traffic neighbourhoods.

According to Ghulati, hindrances to cars, such as road-blocks in low traffic neighbourhoods, were in fact contributing to pollution by causing vehicles to stand still and emit fumes.

Calling ULEZ unfair, he said wealthy Londoners can easily afford the 12.50-pound daily charge for non-compliant vehicles, while those on lower incomes are deterred from using their cars.

His other priorities include increasing police presence on the street and building more police stations in areas where there is a high crime rate.

The 2024 London mayoral election is scheduled to be held on May 2, and will take place simultaneously with elections to the London Assembly and local elections across England and Wales.

Sadiq Khan, who has been the Mayor of London since 2016, is seeking re-election as the Labour candidate.

A total of 12 candidates have reportedly declared that they will be running for the job, which includes Conservative Susan Hill, Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie, Reform UK's Howard Cox, Green Party's Zoe Garbett and Social Democratic Party's Amy Gallagher.

While Mayoral elections are traditionally held every four years, voting was last held in 2021 instead of 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be the first time the election will use the first-past-the-post system.

Mayoral elections are traditionally held every four years.

However, voters last went to the polls in 2021 rather than 2020 as the election was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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