A Desi Success Story: Once a Homeless Migrant, Gaurav Sharma’s Now an MP in Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet

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A Desi Success Story: Once a Homeless Migrant, Gaurav Sharma’s Now an MP in Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

New Zealand’s recently concluded national election saw Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party register another win, marking a new term for the current government. The Labour Party’s win has an Indian connection as well, as Dr Gaurav Sharma, the Labour candidate for Hamilton West, registered a win over rival Tim Macindoe in the polls. Sharma was born in India, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and immigrated as a boy with his family to New Zealand in 2000. After being involved with the Labour Party since 2014, Sharma has now been elected to the parliament of his adopted country, New Zealand.

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Gaurav Sharma has not lost touch with his Indian roots. Reports mention how he prefers to speak in his native Pahari whenever he visits his home state of Himachal Pradesh. Back in India, news of his win was greeted with joy.

Even the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, took the opportunity to congratulate Sharma on his victory in the election. Thakur wished Sharma all the best on behalf of all the people of Himachal Pradesh.

Life was not easy for Sharma after his family moved to New Zealand. Due to his father facing difficulties in finding a job, Sharma experienced homelessness while growing up. However, today he is a qualified doctor and newly minted parliamentarian, having overcome these obstacles.

In addition to these hardships, Sharma also experienced a taste of racism during the campaign. In the run-up to the election, a supporter of his was harassed by groups of men after she put up a sign supporting Sharma on her lawn. “This morning we found out that one lovely Hamiltonian was harassed and verbally abused by two sets of people for having signs supporting ‘a curry candidate.’ Racial discrimination is not new to me. Neither in politics nor in other spheres of life,” Sharma said in a Facebook post about the incident.

From a homeless immigrant to a respected holder of public office, Gaurav Sharma has had quite a journey. And he’s only 33 years old.

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