Meet Sameer Pandey, ALP candidate for Winston Hills NSW

Sameer Pandey's guiding mantra for the NSW State elections next year is going to be the Labor standard of No One Left Behind

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A nation that had once had as its leader Winston Churchill, known for his deep prejudice against India and Indians, now has an Indian-origin Prime Minister. Today, in a suburb named after him in a land far, far away, an Indian-origin person stands a chance to be elected as people’s representative. Sameer Pandey, currently the Deputy Mayor of the Parramatta City Council, will be the ALP candidate for Winston Hills in the NSW State Elections to be held on 25 March 2023.

As the second person of Indian origin to be announced in a high-profile seat (the first being Charishma Kaliyanda at Liverpool), perhaps the time has finally come in Australia, like in the UK, for people of colour (POC) to be taken seriously as election candidates.

“Chris Minns, our party leader in NSW has always maintained that Parliament should reflect the community,” Sameer Pandey told Indian Link.  “I think we’re doing very well in this regard in the upcoming election, by showing our strength in diversity.”

What may work in Pandey’s favour is the redistributed electorate of Winston Hills, previously Seven Hills. With 61,489 expected electors, this new electorate is among the top five densely populated electorates in the state.

Encompassing suburbs such as Kings Langley, Glenwood and Blacktown, it has high concentration of POC voters.

“They’re all looking for opportunities and improvements in transport, health, education, youth services, and lifestyle in general,” Pandey said. “Over five years I have connected with them all through community organisations, Local Area Command, businesses, charities, faith groups.”

Mark Taylor of the Liberal Party currently holds the seat. Last election, the ALP candidate Durga Owen of Labor had managed to get a swing.

This time round though, different dynamics are in play, as Pandey revealed.

“Mark Taylor has been around for two terms, during which time not much changed in terms of quality of life in our area; it attracted no major projects. Also, the constituency now incorporates some new suburbs such as Glenwood, where Mark has no visibility. I have substantial visibility, on the other hand. Out of 13 suburbs in this electorate, 7 are in Parramatta, 5 in my own ward at Parramatta Council, so I’m well acquainted with the area and its strengths and challenges.”

In Sydney’s Indian community, Pandey has carved out a spot for himself, a smart and convivial presence at many of its events.

He arrived in this country 1999 on a business visa, and joined the ALP in 2005.

Why politics – and why ALP?

“Politically I’ve always aligned with Labor’s philosophy of not leaving anyone behind,” Pandey replied. “I do that in my own life and work. It has kept me in the party for 17 years now. Six of these have been in Council and I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to achieve there.”

He worked his way up the ladder as opposed to those who look to be parachuted into the higher echelons of politics.

“In my opinion, there’s no fast tracks in politics. You have to build a background over a period of time, with patience and industry. If you want to make a difference, you’ll want to know what the issues and challenges are in your local area, the day-to-day concerns of the community you’re going to serve. I’ve spent the time doing this and built close connections.”

Pandey picks Labor legend Bob Hawke as an inspirational figure.

“What he achieved for the country was phenomenal. Medicare for example, fundamentally changed the way health is managed in Australia,” Pandey said.

While shooting for the stars, Sameer Pandey acknowledges the contributions his wife Nimmi has made in helping him move forward. “As a qualified statistician and an accountant, Nimmi also takes care of our two children – Richa, 15 and Aryan, 10, who do not get to see their dad as often as they would like! I do not have much downtime, but I ensure I’m there for sport and other activities… and for TV time.”

Sameer Pandey with family
Source: Supplied

And what he is watching these days?

Political drama, of course. (Khakhi The Bihar Chapter, for Bollywood fans).

It appears that even after hours, Sameer Pandey is never too far from politics, and that deep desire to make a difference.

READ ALSO: Sameer Pandey for Pink Sari

Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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