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Tag Archives: hails

#WATCH: Abhishek Bachchan hails Keith Vaz’s contribution to Diaspora community

He’s held the Leicester East seat for twenty-eight years but that doesn’t mean that Keith Vaz MP is getting complacent – especially since the upcoming general election is going to be the most closely-fought in a generation.

Mr Vaz enlisted the help of his “family friend” Abhishek Bachchan to give his campaign for re-election some ‘Bollywood Magic’ and Bachchan Jr was more than happy to oblige, taking time out from celebrating his wedding anniversary with former Miss World wife Aishwarya.

Leicester’s famous Belgrave Road was brought to a standstill on Sunday as Bachchan’s fans and Mr Vaz’s supporters lined the streets, turning the whole thing into something akin to an election campaign rally in rural Bihar as opposed staid old Britain. 

Whilst Mr Vaz is not too worried about re-election (his majority in 2010 was more than 14,000), he did acknowledge that he wouldn’t stand a chance against Abhishek.

"I am absolutely delighted Abhishek is here in Leicester, I have known him for many years.  I'm glad he's fitted it in, but I would ask him not to stand in Leicester East, as I'd have no chance", he said.

Abhishek, clad in a sharp suit and sunglasses, hailed Mr Vaz for “looking after the interests of the Indian Diaspora community in Britain” – a view held by many within the community.

It was all a bit...well...Bollywood.

Mr Vaz’s Conservative opponent Kishan Devani, understandably enough, wasn’t too happy.

"The people of Leicester will decide who to vote for on questions of policy, not because of Bollywood stars coming to the city.  It's patronising to think that people will be swayed by gimmicks like this instead of policies which will affect their lives.It caused a lot of disruption and for what?", Mr Devani said.

{module Slideshow Abhishek}

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Cameron hails ‘Tremendous’ contribution of Sikhs on Vaisakhi


Prime Minister David Cameron has hailed the “immense contribution” made by Britain’s Sikh community in a message celebrating the festival of Vaisakhi.

“British Sikhs have enriched our country for over 160 years”, the Prime Minister said.

“Whether it is in the fields of enterprise or business, education, public service or civil society Britain’s Sikhs are a success story and model community.  And I see this contribution every day, all around”, he added.

Whilst Downing Street is known to issue messages marking wider Hindu celebrations such as Diwali, it is rare for the PM to allude to a specific community.

“This sort of message from David Cameron would have been unheard of a few years ago”, the Sikh Federation (UK) said in a statement.

As the inevitability of a hung parliament looms large, the ethnic minority vote is seen as crucial for both Labour and the Conservatives – doubtless focusing the minds of Britain’s political leaders.

Here’s the full message.

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#LightOverDarkness: Prime Minister hails British Indian contribution to UK

David Cameron on Monday called for more British Indians to aim for the highest echelons of British society as the party leaders began a massive charm offensive to win over ethnic voters as the countdown began for what is set to be the most divisive British election in recent memory.

The Prime Minister made his appeal during the annual Diwali party at 10 Downing Street with more than 200 invitees representing the community in attendance. 

The event took place just a few streets away from where Labour Party leader Ed Milliband was hosting his party's annual Diwali party.

"It is great that when we look around politics we see people like Shailesh Vara, Dolar Popat, Alok Sharma, and Keith Vaz. 

"We see people at the top of our politics, but I want to see more British Indians in the House of Commons, in the House of Lords, in our judiciary, our military, playing the fullest possible part in British life.  But you are certainly making a huge contribution, and it’s a contribution that we should celebrate tonight."

The British Asian vote is seen as a key driver for all the major political parties in next year's general election given the fact that the electorate is more divided than ever before, particularly as a result of the dramatic recent successes enjoyed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP). 

Whilst many ethnic minority voters have publicly declared their abhorrence of UKIP's anti-immigrant message, many others who have traditionally supported the Conservatives and the Labour Party have been angered by the immigration-related rhetoric emanating from the two frontline parties.

Many feel that migrants from outside the European Union - particularly students and business visitors from South Asia and Africa - have been unfairly penalized as Mr Cameron strives to meet not only his party's net migration targets but Britain's obligations towards the European Union whilst some within the historically immigration-friendly Labour party have stepped up their efforts to toughen its stance on the issue.

Whilst acknowledging community concerns, Mr Cameron defended his government's record on immigration.

"A country needs to have controlled and fair immigration.  I believe that settled communities of British Asians want that as well.  You can only do that if you control properly and fairly immigration from outside and inside the European Union. 

"I think it's important that we do that.  If you look at the student visa system for instance, there is no limit on the number of students who can come in, as long as they have an English language qualification.  Business visitors from South Asia are increasing.  Again there's work to be done but we are determined to make it fairer both within and outside Europe."

This year's Diwali celebrations at the Conservative Prime Minister's official residence had added significance as it came fifty years after a Conservative MP successfully exploited racist attitudes towards South Asian and West Indian immigrants to win the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick.

Mr Cameron said that the British Asian community and Britain as a whole had come a long way since those bigoted days.

"I think it says a lot about the change that Britain has gone through and it's a positive change.  We have become a very successful multi-racial country.  And if you look at the contributions that British Indians have made right across the piece, one of their biggest contributions has been to make Britain a tolerant, compassionate and more open country", the PM said.

"Those are values that you bring to Britain, values we need more of in our country", he added.

Mr Cameron also spoke about the unique values of Diwali and the importance of those values for future generations. 

"I was looking at the values that Hindus celebrate and the goals of life, and it’s such a good way to bring up your children.  Talking of dharma, virtue and duty, not always as present as it should be in public life, but it is present and it must be.  Thinking of karma, pleasure and fulfilment; thinking of moksha, liberation and release.   And thinking of artha – thinking about your career, your skills.  Thinking of those things together, good, strong values that we should teach our children, and so often when we look at each other’s religions we can find values and lessons and morals that are so valuable for our children, for our future."

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#CONTRIBUTION: Danny Alexander hails Asian contribution to UK economy

Above: Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander (Right) with Mr Vijay Goel, Chairman Asian Business Association A senior coalition minister has hailed the importance of Britain’s Asian business community. Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander hailed the “immense” contribution made by ethnic minority-owned businesses to the UK, in particular to the economic …

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President Obama hails appointment of first Indian to US Appeals Court

President Barack Obama has joined politicians and decision-makers in Washington in hailing the appointment of Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan’s to the US Appeals Court, the first South Asian to sit on the powerful judicial bench. Obama described Chandigarh-born Srinivasan, 46, as a “trailblazer” who “personified the best of America”, adding that …

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