A PROMINENT British Asian Ukip supporter has quit the party, accusing Nigel Farage of playing the race card to win votes.
Sanya-Jeet Thandi, a youth member who was previously put up to defend the party in television interviews, said its current direction was “terrifying”.
The departure is embarrassing for Ukip as it tries to fend off racism allegations following a series of scandals involving candidates, and a controversial poster campaign warning about Europeans coming to take UK jobs.
In an article on the Guardian website, Ms Thandi wrote: “As a British-born Indian supporter of Ukip I should be proud that the party I joined at 18 has grown to challenge the Conservatives and Labour so strongly.
“In reality, however, the direction in which the party is going is terrifying: Ukip has descended into a form of racist populism that I cannot bring myself to vote for.
“This week I decided to leave the party and I will abstain from voting in the upcoming European elections. I urge other Ukip supporters to do the same.”
Ms Thandi said she had initially viewed the party’s immigration policy as about treating Europeans and non-Europeans equally.
But Ukip now appeared to be turning the forthcoming European elections - which polls suggest they may win outright - into a “game of ‘us’ and ‘them’”.
“I understand that British politics in the 21st century has become a dirty game of populism, but Ukip is straying further and further from the policies that attracted so many of its original supporters, instead cynically pursuing ever more aggressive anti-immigrant rhetoric,” she wrote.
“After preaching about ‘common sense’ and standing up as the ‘people’s party’, it is ironic that previously fundamental policies like taxation and promoting a small state are being ignored in favour of going after the votes of those who think Lenny Henry ‘should emigrate to a black country’.
“Ukip is exploiting the stupidity of ignorant anti-immigrant voters for electoral gain. While the party deliberately attracts the racist vote, I refuse to be associated with them.”