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The Indo-Canadian community is proud of the wide recognition that Member of Ontario Legislature, Jagmeet Singh, is receiving from the mainstream Canadian media since his formal launch for leadership of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), one of Canada's main political parties.

This 38-year-old turbaned Sikh criminal lawyer has during the last few days shaken NDP from its foundation.

From all indications, Jagmeet is likely to clinch the leadership of the NDP, election for which is scheduled for October. There are four other candidates, all members of the House of Commons.

If elected leader, Jagmeet will have to find a safe federal riding to contest for the Federal Parliament.

Toronto Star has during the last one week written five stories on Jagmeet, all applauding him, and his decision to jump into the fray.

He launched his leadership campaign at the BOMBAY Palace Banquet Hall in suburban Brampton, the area which’s part of his provincial legislative riding. The venue was packed to its capacity and Jagmeet, dressed in a designer three-piece suit and matching turban – which is his hallmark because of which even the splashy GQ magazine recently went after him for a photo shoot and plastered the magazine with Jagmeet Singh’s photos in different colors and poses – spoke in English, French and, of course, in Punjabi and mesmerized the audience with his sermons.

“People are hungry for new leadership in our country,” he said. “They are hungry for new leadership in our party… That is what drive me to be your new leader, that is what drives me to be your prime minister,” he reportedly emphasized.

“We need to be bold and unapologetic. I think that far too often new Democrats apologize for wanting to make people lives more just and more fair,” Jagmeet said.

“To have credibility on the international stage, we need to be strong on our belief when it comes to human rights. We need to have consistency on our beliefs of justice. We can’t pick and choose when it’s easy,” he said.

The Sikh community in Canada has been most successful on the political front – both at the federal as provincial level, at least in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. At the federal level, there are 19 Indo-Canadian MPs and 4 federal ministers which is no mean achievement for the community that was till a few years back subject to all kinds of racial slurs. Not any more and Indo-Canadians now walk in the streets with their heads high. .

“Singh’s appeal has substance, and style,” wrote the Toronto Star in a 5-column banner headline.

Jagmeet “is a bottle rocket of idealistic charisma,” wrote Canada’s national magazine Maclean’s. He’s highly trained in martial arts and all set, once elected, to pick a fight with Prime Minister Justice Trudeau, who’s good in boxing. He too is young, like Jagmneet – one 44 years old and Jagmeet is 38. Both depend to a great deal on social media to attract young followers.

If elected leader of the Federal NDP, Jagmeet will become the first turbaned Sikh, first non-white, non-French, to head a major federal party.

NDP was main opposition in the House of Commons till the last federal election in October 2015. Now it is the third party.

Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai is also among candidates for the leadership of the main opposition Conservative Party, election for which is scheduled for May 28.

(Ajit Jain can be contacted at ajit.jain0410@gmail.com)

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