Top Indian Canadian leader defeated in polls

May 27th, 2009 - 11:15 am ICT by IANS  

Vancouver, May 27 (IANS) Wally Oppal, a top Indian Canadian politician and British Columbia provincial attorney general, was defeated in the assembly election Tuesday after a recount of votes.
In the May 12 assembly elections in British Columbia province, Oppal was declared winner by just two votes in his home constituency of Delta South on the outskirts of Vancouver.

However, Canadian election laws mandate a fresh recount if the margin of victory is very thin.

Announcing the result Tuesday, the provincial election commission said a recount of votes has given Vicki Huntington, a former municipal councillor, a 32-vote win over Oppal.

But since the victory margin still remains very thin, there will be yet another court-supervised recount at a later date.

Born here in the 1940s, Oppal is the most well-known Indian-origin politician as well as attorney general in British Columbia which has the largest concentration of Indians in Canada.

The province also produced Canada’s first non-white premier when Indian-born Ujjal Dosanjh was elected to the top post in February 2000.

A premier in a Canadian province is equal to a chief minister in an Indian state.

After Ujjal, Oppal was the second Indian to rise to this level in British Columbia province.

With Oppal’s defeat, there are now six Indian-origin lawmakers in the 79-member provincial assembly.

Discontent among voters over local issues such as the proposed expansion of a hydro pipeline and construction of a highway through the constituency is said to have contributed to his defeat.

Oppal, who was virtually number two in the provincial government, said he was disappointed by his defeat.

“But I will be fine. Nobody needs to feel sorry for me, I had a great run. I enjoyed the four years I was there (in government) and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said after his defeat.

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