Rupanjana Dutta Friday 02nd March 2018 09:53 EST

Cabinet Minister Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP, Indian actor and politician Shatrughan Sinha and Leicester City footballer Shinji Okazaki were among the winners of the 12th Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards (AVPPL), hosted by the Asian Voice newspaper at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday 1 March 2018. It was attended by Parliamentarians, business and community leaders, members of the Armed Forces and crème de la crème of the British society, who braved the 'beast from the east' to be present at the awards. The Members Dining Room in the House of Commons bursted with excitement, to celebrate the achievement of 20 individuals from different walks of life.

The AVPPL awards represent a modest effort to honour number of outstanding individuals of any background, who serve society in their own special way, and who contribute significantly, in whatever they do, towards making a better world today and for the future.

Owing to the century old tradition of participation in the political process in the UK, women and men equally participate in political and public life in a number of ways, from holding office as political representatives, to exercising citizenship rights such as voting, and to playing an active role in community and voluntary organisations.

These awards are given annually to individuals who have made a special impact in the preceding 12 months, ranging from international politicians to individuals who have made a big difference in their local communities.

As in previous years, the competition for awards is extremely strong. This is a unique event where readers nominate and an independent panel of judges comprising of eminent personalities selects the winners.

Receiving the Cabinet Minister of the Year award Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Sajid Javid said, “Huge honour to receive this award tonight. My thanks goes to Asian Voice and all its readers, who voted for me. Its very fitting to receive the honour in this setting, the home of our democracy, our cherished freedoms, the freedoms that have made us one of the most open and tolerant countries in the world. A country that just does not celebrate diversity but we actively thrive on the diversity of our country.

“It is great to serve British Asians in this room today, people from all backgrounds, and I must congratulate them all for their own achievements... I want to dedicate this award to my parents and also your parents, because its our parents and sometimes our grandparents that left our homes long time ago, took great risks to come to this country and built not only a better future for themselves, but their children and grandchildren. Today is the opportunity, to remember our heroes, which are our parents.”

Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Indian Actor and Politician Shatrughan Sinha said, “Thank you Asian Voice and readers for nominating me for this awards. This is the first time ever I have entered the Palace of Westminster. I am grateful to all of you that through you and through this award, I have been able to visit this historical place. Wherever I go I try to preach and practice, especially to the younger generation that confidence is the main thing in life. Confidence brings commitment, commitment brings determination, determination brings devotion, and when you have commitment, determination and devotion, besides confidence, then you get passion. When you have passion, you can conquer anything and bring comfort level to the feet. In this competitive world you have to prove yourself to be better than the best. If you are unable to prove yourself to be better than the best, at least try and be different from the rest."

Calling Politics his passion, Sinha added, "Party is bigger than individual and Nation is bigger than the Party. My entire interest is in the interest of the Nation. Whatever I speak, I say from the best of my capacity and capability, I speak in favour of my Nation. I have great respect for Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi as he is giving India a good leadership. If there are issues, then they are worth debating. That is the job of friends, especially for members of the BJP. That is why I beg to appeal to all of you, please do not misunderstand me. No matter what I am, wherever I am, good, bad or ugly, I am yours, I was yours and I shall forever be yours."

Sinha was also thrilled to see Sonakshi Sinha, Bollywood actress and his daughter, on the cover of Asian Voice's last Diwali issue, and he launched that magazine on public demand, joking that his face could go on next year's 'Holi issue'. 

CB Patel, Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice said: “Our awards have recognised great works and some incredible people who have made huge contributions to public and political life. I am so proud that we can celebrate those who have made a positive difference across all walks of life, regardless of political party, race, colour or religion. These awards also celebrate those individuals who make just as significant a contribution to communities and the British society and I congratulate all of this year’s winners and urge them to keep up their brilliant work.” The Asian Giants magazine, which is published by Asian Voice annually, was also launched there by CB Patel along with Aliirajah Subaskaran, Chairman of Lycamobile.

This year's distinguished winners are:

Cabinet Minister of the Year: Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP

Lifetime Achievement Award: Shatrughan Sinha

Shadow Cabinet Minister of the Year: Jonathan Ashworth MP

Businessperson of the Year: Prema Subaskaran

Labour Backbencher of the Year: Laura Pidcock MP

Conservative Backbencher of the Year: James Cleverly MP

Liberal Democrat of the Year: Layla Moran MP

Sports Personality of the Year: Shinji Okazaki

Doctor of the Year: Dr Balu Pitchiah

Award for Community Service: Dal Babu

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Naman Pathak

Restaurant of the Year: Varsity Restaurant with Tariq Mahmood

New Business Entrant of the Year: Prabir Chattopadhyay

Trade Unionist of the Year: Keith Birch

Airline of the Year: Jet Airwaysand Lydia Nazreth

Enterprise of the Year: Mustafa Abed

Public Service Award: Anirudh Singh and VFS

Innovation in Business Award: Kulwinder Kumar Bagha

Television Channel of the Year: Colors Tv

Arts & Film Award: Bhavna Talwar

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