Bangladesh celebrates rare British election victory
Hundreds of people took to the streets Saturday and ate sweets in the northeastern Bangladesh city of Sylhet to celebrate the election of the first person of Bangladeshi origin to Britain's parliament.
Rushanara Ali, 35, stood for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party and won the east London seat of Bethnal Green and Bow with a comfortable majority in Thursday's general election.
After the results were announced, people in Sylhet from where she migrated to London held impromptu celebrations and ate sweets to celebrate, Sylhet mayor Badruddin Ahmed Kamran told AFP.
Kamran also led a big "victory rally" in which around 1,500 people turned up and paraded through the main thoroughfare of the city holding British and Bangladeshi flags, police sub-inspector Mofazzal Hossain said.
"She made all Bengalis proud, especially Sylhetis," the Mayor said.
"Britons of Bangladeshi origin have in the past won numerous local government elections. But this the first time we have a Bangladeshi-born person winning a parliamentary seat. It's a big day for us," he said.
"We are going to give her a huge reception when she visits Sylhet."
Oxford University-educated Ali moved to east London when she was seven from Sylhet.
In London after her victory, Ali said: "To millions of Bangladeshis around the world, it will mean so much to them that somebody of their background has been elected to the mother of all parliaments.
East London is the heart of Britain's Bangladeshi community whose number is estimated at around half a million. Some street signs around the Brick Lane area are written in English and Bengali.
In the elections, the Conservatives won the most seats but failed to clinch the overall majority which would have allowed them to govern alone and immediately remove the Labour Party from power.
The Liberal Democrats who came third in seats now are mulling a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives to resolve Britain's political impasse.
© 2010 AFP