This is a guest post by a member of the Bengali community who we will refer to as ‘Source B’. It is unedited and the views expressed are solely that of the author.
LW is not revealing the identity of Source B as we know that to do so would put the author at risk. Some will undoubtedly criticise us for publishing an anonymous comment piece but we have no choice. We believe it is important for this person’s voice to be heard and this is the only way this can be achieved.
That a resident of Tower Hamlets cannot enjoy the democratic right of freedom speech because that person is a member of the Bengali community is a condemnation of us all.
I write not as a “right wing” supporter, or a ‘traitor’ or “sell out”, but as a Bengali resident of Tower Hamlets, and someone who was your key supporter well before you came to the public limelight in 2010.
In fact, I was involved with politics long before you got elected as a councillor in 2002. Back then you were a quiet sort, focused on community work and a talented lawyer who had the potential to go far. You made a good impression on those around you as a good team player, loyal to friends and committed to the cause – or that’s what we thought from your conduct. You were loyal to the person who brought you into politics and allowed him to mentor you. It was your mentor who introduced you to the local community and introduced you as a capable young man with a bright future. That mentor was none other than former councillor Helal Abbas. There is no denying even by yourself of the huge impact he has played in your political life, you have said that yourself on many occasions.
However, from the humble and modest beginning you saw an opportunity in 2008/9 to go further than your colleagues by stepping on their heads. No one could have predicted your selfish nature, how you went about working against your colleagues and your most loyal supporters to make a stand against your mentor/ colleague Helal Abbas who had previously declared to stand as an MP candidate and had your unequivocal support. But you wanted that position more than him and anyone else so you divided the small loyal group at the time to suit your political needs.
I have no doubt that this situation not only brought out your real character which may not have shocked you but it certainly did to those around you. No one realised your true selfish nature. I guess you did nothing wrong – you are in politics where people say you need to be selfish and “stab your friends” if you have to to get what you want, you subscribed to the philosophy of everything is allowed where the end justifies any means. The “Machiavellian philosophy”. You were no doubt a master of it.
You failed to win enough support to be the Labour candidate for MP for 2010 but that little feel of almost acquiring power and fame got to you. You stood against your mentor/ leader at the time and defeated him to be the council leader in 2008. Well done! You played ‘politics’ well. You used people’s loyalty and unconditional support to your advantage. A true politician in the making who would not be satisfied with just becoming a leader! You wanted the world!
Then in 2010, you outsmarted all your colleagues and left them in the cold. No friends were close enough to matter. No loyalty was too valuable to let go. Nothing mattered except your own political ambition. You were the ‘politician’. Everyone and everything was expendable.
You and your new team from the community campaigned behind the scenes for the mayoral referendum with Shiraj Haque funding and leading the charge and Cllr Abjol Miah officially responsible for the petition for the referendum. Your right hand man at the time was cllr Aminur Khan. With your new team you practically worked against the official position of the Labour party and won the referendum for the mayoral system.
You were expecting the Labour party to hand you the mayoral nomination, no doubt you were confident especially because you had a strong support base in the Labour party membership which has been marred by allegations of “paid up” members by yourself.
However, I have to agree with you at this point in history, the Labour party did mess up the process, the party could have handled your process and selection much more tactfully. But to your advantage they gave you a winning ticket. You used the sympathy of being unjustly treated to your advantage. Like a true politician you once again trumped your opposition. You played well. You got what you wanted.
I was one of those people who believed in you since 2008, I was willing to overlook how you got to your position and give you the benefit of doubt. I accepted the reality, that you were ruthless but you were good at what you do and nothing could stop you. I thought let’s give this young Lutfur a chance and see what he makes of the new found power and fame.
There is no question you did some pretty great stuff whilst in administration. Some of your policies and work has to be admired. But you played “Russian roulette” with power, you knew you will do some good work, you had some good people around you but the risk you took for gaining personally also had its risk.
The bottom line is, you have been found guilty of corruption and other offences by an election court; that there are currently several serious and damning police investigation on you in relation to bribery, personal corruption, misfeasance and other criminal conduct beyond the election offences. Unfortunately, in your case the Russian roulette did not work as there was a bullet in the chamber which fired back at you!
Please Lutfur, step down from public life. Please do not bring anymore negative attention on the Bengali community. Any little love or admiration for your work is dwindling away, people do not want you back. This is coming from a friend who was once your active supporter not your enemy.
Ultimately it was your ambition, your greed and selfish nature that brought you down. You sacrificed your friends, mentors and leaders for the high prize. You got it. You lost it. Now you lost your reputation and credibility.
You have been banned to stand in political office until 2020. If you ever decide to come back into the political arena you will find the political establishment as your first hurdle. But more crucially you will find the community that once believed in you, voted you, stood with you, no longer behind you. Your biggest opposition will come from your own community. It is time for you to move on.
You could have handled the political fallout quite differently. There is no question when it comes to politics you are the the master at it. You have made a good career of it. However, on this occasion your support for Ohid Ahmed as a proxy candidate and your split with Rabina Khan has given Rabina more credibility and acceptance in the wider community as she is no longer part of your group.
You should have retired from politics after you lost your court case and left it to the ‘group’ to battle it out between Ohid and Rabina. But your selfish and controlling nature did not allow that. You have your own agenda and purpose of why you do what you do. After all you are the master of politics.
Gone are the days of your big events at the Waterlilly with a thousand plus people. You have resigned to organising events in small halls with hundreds of people at best. Gone are the days where you would walk around with 10-15 people, now you walk around with a few kids who only joined your campaign trail few years ago at best.
The small group of people around you only know your history from 2010. That you fought injustice, took on the Labour party and then took on the establishment. Some even think you are some kind of demi-god. Untouchable and immortal. Maybe they would re-evaluate their assessment of you that you are just a mere mortal after the police investigation. Your political birth was not in holy waters but in the political darkness of skullduggery, betrayal and ambition. That is the reality.
My earnest advice to you as a younger brother – it is time for you to move on.”