Opinion makers converge to debate citizenship law at Shikhar Samagam

Politicians, sports stars and entertainment personalities shared the stage to discuss, agree and disagree on important issues at the event themed on development and prosperity.
Asaduddin Owaisi, President, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Sudhanshu Trivedi, National Spokesperson, Bharatiya Janta Party in conversation with Dibang, Anchor, ABP News during the Hindustan Shikhar Samagam at Indira Gandhi Auditorium, Gomti Nagar Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India on Saturday, 22, 2020. (Photo by Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times)
Asaduddin Owaisi, President, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Sudhanshu Trivedi, National Spokesperson, Bharatiya Janta Party in conversation with Dibang, Anchor, ABP News during the Hindustan Shikhar Samagam at Indira Gandhi Auditorium, Gomti Nagar Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India on Saturday, 22, 2020. (Photo by Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Feb 22, 2020 11:36 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and related developments dominated the Hindustan Shikhar Samagam, a conclave organised by the Hindi daily Hindustan, in Lucknow on Saturday. The event featured intense and thought-provoking discussions sometimes laced with humour.

Politicians, sports stars and entertainment personalities shared the stage to discuss, agree and disagree on important issues at the event themed on development and prosperity. The Samagam’s catchline this time was ‘Sabal Shaksiyatein, Prabal Nazariya,” which translates as “powerful personalities, strong perspectives.”.

In attendance from the world of politics were Union minister for women and child development and textiles Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Sidhanshu Trivedi, Congress spokesman Gaurav Vallabh and Rastriya Janata Dal spokesman Manoj Jha.

Adityanath, Irani and Sudhanshu Trivedi, as expected of BJP politicians, supported the CAA, but Owaisi, Vallabh, Jha, and Bollywood star Swara Bhaskar vehemently opposed it.

Owaisi claimed that the CAA, which would fast-track the grant of citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRCV) and the National Population Register (NPR) were interlinked. He said the NRC and the NPR were natural corollaries to the CAA.

“Now, when the CAA has come, the NPR and NRC are bound to follow,” he said.

Owaisi said 80 million Muslims would be at the risk of being ousted from the country after the NRC is completed. Significantly, his co-panelist Trivedi did not rule out the possibility of the NRC. “As of now, there is no plan for bringing the NRC. I cannot predict what will happen in future. The government will take all those decisions that it thinks are in the interest of the country,” he said.

The focus on recitation of the Hanuman Chalisa and visits to Hanuman temple by politicians during the recent Delhi assembly elections indicated the changing political discourse in the country, said Adityanath, referring to attempts by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) politicians led by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to portray themselves as followers of Hanuman .

“This indicates a change in the political agenda of the country,” he said when asked whether the AAP, which won the polls this month with a landslide, had hijacked the BJP’s agenda.

During her session, Irani said: “I don’t know what kind of politics is that which dubs me communal when I take Lord Ram’s name, but calls them secular when they recite Hanuman Chalisa.”

Talking about the Delhi polls, Akhilesh Yadav said voters in the national capital had rejected the politics of “hate, poison, division” and chosen development. “The SP will return to power in UP with ‘Kaam Bolta Hai,’” (work speaks for itself), he said.

“We will win 351 seats in UP in 2022. I don’t need to hold on to Ram or Hanuman. I will choose kaam (work),” he h added.

Sportswomen at the conclave -- athletes Khushoo Gupta and Kajal Sharma and hockey player Mumtaz Khan -- talked about how they made a name for themselves despite adversities. Movie director Tigmanshu Dhulia and actors Ayushmann Khurrana, Swara Bhaskar and Zeeshan Ayub talked about the world of entertainment.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022