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Alok Agrawal
Controversial BNP campaign fails to win council seat

Efforts by the far-right British National party (BNP) to win a council seat by using last week's London bombings in its campaign have backfired, after Labour candidate Alok Agrawal won the Becontree seat in a landslide victory last night.

Mr Agrawal, the owner of a local newsagents, held the Becontree ward seat in Barking and Dagenham which was left vacant following the sudden death of Labour councillor John Wainwright just five weeks ago.

Mr Agrawal secured 1,171 votes, with BNP candidate John Luisis trailing behind on 378. Conservative candidate Anthony Chytry won just 283 votes, while the UK Independence party netted 125.

The byelection was marred by controversy following the decision by the BNP to publish an election leaflet showing an aerial photograph of the devastated number 30 bus with the headline: Maybe now it's time to start listening to the BNP.

Tensions also flared over the weekend and police were called after Labour councillor Jeff Porter was reportedly hounded by a man distributing BNP leaflets.

Mr Porter was a tube driver on the Circle line heading towards Edgware Road when one of the four bombs exploded on a train heading in the opposite direction.

Matters came to a head last night after an exchange of words ended in a BNP activist allegedly punching Labour election agent Val Rush in the chest after the results were announced.

Speaking from her home earlier today, Ms Rush said the byelection result had exceeded her expectations. "We were looking at an 800 vote win but to get this result showed a positive response from the residents to that awful leaflet that the BNP put out," she said. "I believed it would backfire and it did."

The far-right party had pinned its hopes on reclaiming a seat on the council after BNP Daniel Kelly quit his seat just nine months after being elected in one of the four byelections the party has contested in the borough in the last 18 months.

Labour won back the seat in Goresbrook ward left vacant by Mr Kelly last month in a separate byelection, leaving the BNP without a single councillor in the capital.
news item : 15.07.05

Becontree victory sees London reject Nazi BNP

The Becontree by-election has seen the Nazi British National Party (BNP) kept out of London. Labour candidate Alok Agrawal got 58.5% of the vote, with the BNP coming second with 19%. The turnout in the election was 25.5%.

Earlier this week the BNP were roundly attacked by political parties for issuing a leaflet featuring the bus bombed in last week’s terrorist attacks. This was countered with a united anti-racist campaign calling on voters to reject the BNP. This defeat follows last month’s result in the neighbouring ward of Goresbrook, where the BNP lost their only seat in London .

Ken Livingstone, Chair of Unite Against Fascism said “Tonight has shown that Londoners will not allow the terrorists or the BNP to divide this city. Our ability to embrace the world has won us the Olympic Games and will enable us to isolate and eliminate those responsible for the atrocities on 7 July. The BNP are a tiny group of contemptible parasites who are incapable of understanding the basis of this city’s strength and prosperity”.

Margaret Hodge MP for Barking said “It is a great result. The people of Barking have resoundingly rejected the BNP’s message of hatred and division.”

Alok Agrawal, Labour Councillor for Becontree said: ”This is a victory for common sense and a victory for the people of the Becontree ward.”

Spot the Tree

Twenty six new trees have been planted in Becontree ward on some of the amenity greens. Look out for them in the following amenity greens:

· junction Bennetts Castle Lane and Heynes Road

· junction Bennetts Castle Lane and Lindisfarne Road

· adjacent 108 Winding Way

· junction Campden Way and Lindisfarne Road

Can you spot the other greens with new trees?

Robin Hood junction

Several residents have complained about dangerous driving and hazardous parking on the footpath and forecourts in front of the shops at the junction of Lodge Avenue and Longbridge Road. The Council has recently written to the shops about the increasing number of complaints regarding vehicles travelling along the forecourts and about the way vehicles are parking.

The letter to the shops states that it appears that the safety of pedestrians is increasingly being put at risk and suggests that the best way to remove this hazard is to prevent vehicles from driving along the forecourts from either the access in Longbridge Road or from Lodge Avenue. In addition to these problems, some of the forecourts are in a poor condition (possibly due to the high level of vehicular movement) and responsibility for anyone having an injury will rest with the forecourt owner. Because the hazard of a dangerous forecourt represents a significant risk to our residents, the shop owners are asked to undertake repairs.
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