Deputy Mayor quits the local Lib Dems, complaining of bullying and racism
Updated: Jan 9
A former Liberal Democrat councillor has dramatically quit the party, stating publicly on social media that for the past three years he has endured "bullies" and "discrimination" from within the local party.
Dr Yukteshwar Kumar was voted in as a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bathwick in the last local election. He was also appointed Deputy Mayor for Bath and is an accomplished academic working for the University of Bath.
His email sent to all B&NES councillors at the weekend gave alleged reasons for his resignation. Shortly afterwards, Dr Kumar called on the local Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats to support his demands for an investigation into his experiences.
In a document raising 15 initial questions, Dr Kumar claims, for example, to have faced restrictions on door-knocking in the run-up to the last election. He also claims to have been asked at one point to leave a tree planting event at Forester Road.
Needless to say, Dr Kumar's resignation and statements have caught the attention of the local opposition parties. Labour councillor for Paulton, Grant Johnson, wrote on Twitter:
Just been catching up on emails. Looks like @YukteshwarKumar has resigned from @bathnesld group, and not on very good terms it would seem. He will now stand as an independent for Bathwick.
The B&NES Conservative Councillors said: "This is serious and should be investigated. All the best for the future @YukteshwarKumar."
However, the Liberal Democrats have released a statement saying:
This concerns various allegations made by Dr Kumar which have been thoroughly investigated by an independent barrister on behalf of B&NES Council, as well as by the Police and by the Liberal Democrats' independent complaints process. Each investigation failed to uphold any of the complaints.
Dr Kumar's claims about his treatment in the local Liberal Democrat Party are concerning. That is, if racism is a problem within the Liberal Democrat regime, one is forced to wonder whether they also have issues to do with other characteristics such as age, social class or location?
In the Twerton area, some residents get the impression that the council is little concerned over the effects that its transport policies have on this community. For example, the proposed Resident Parking Zone for Oldfield Park might make sense to Oldfield residents but it would likely reduce parking amenity in parts of West Twerton - and the council has shown no real interest in this problem.
It goes without saying that the council should be treating all people with impartiality, rather than operating in a way that risks disadvantaging one demographic group for the benefit of another.