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December 16, 1999
Indian Rivals Won't Join Battle
A P Kamath
Finally, Moe Sihota has announced that he will not run for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in British Columbia. The 35th annual convention of the British Columbia NDP will take place in Vancouver, February 18 to 20, next year.
The convention will deal with the election of leader who will become the premier, election of party officers and executive and policy resolutions. Following the resignation of Glen Clark a few months ago, a temporary premier rules the province.
Sihota, a social development and economic security cabinet minister, had been lashing out the front-runner, Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh, so much in recent weeks that many political observers thought Sihota was seriously considering a run. About a month ago, Sihota led criticism against Dosanjh, whose supporters had drafted more than 6,000 Indian Canadians into NDP.
Sihota had described the enrollment drive as being unfair. He had also said that Dosanjh had allowed the drive go on because the new members could help him become the premier of the province.
But a few days later it was revealed that Sihota had also resorted to bulk enrollment. However, he had been able to sign up only about 1,000 people.
Sihota, like Dosanjh, is a Sikh; both are clean-shaven but Sihota has the backing of the conservative and radical Sikhs while Dosanjh, a fierce critic of the Khalistanis, is beholden to the moderates. Dosanjh was nearly clobbered to death a few ago by a fundamentalist Sikh. Both have law degrees.
A controversial and outspoken politician, Sihota is known for his resilience.
Twice forced to resign from cabinet, he bounced back to become one of British Columbia's more visible politicians. He was suspended from the law society a few years ago for 18 months for violation of ethics. But that too did not derail his political ascendancy.
Sihota has said the reason for not entering the contest was his family.
"Politics is a funny business," he added.
Who would be supporting then? There are four candidates, including Dosanjh, while Sihota is yet to decide for whom to vote.
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