Rupanjana Dutta Monday 14th March 2016 12:55 EDT

The Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards this year had a new venue inside the Palace of Westminster, to celebrate a decade of these awards, held to recognise the achievements of Britons in various fields of work.

The Terrace Pavillion was bustling with anticipation, as guests and winners gathered at the venue, enjoying the Thames view. The highlight of this year's award was Sportsman of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, a rising football star, who is astounding the world with his incredible performances for Leicester Football Club in English Premiere League. He was accompanied by his wife, the club's Midfielder N'Golo Kante, Chief Executive Susan Whelan, Director of Football Jon Rudkin and his family members.

The compere for the evening was famous actress Sheena Bhattessa and Guest of Honour was the Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, who gave a be-fitting introduction to Rt Hon Keith Vaz, MP, Co-host of the awards. Vaz who will complete 29 years as an MP this June was thanked by the Speaker for being an industrious and assiduous member of the House of Commons, associated with several good causes and helping people in need, in all possible ways- personally and socially.

Speaking about the awards, CB Patel, Publisher/Editor of Asian Voice and the host said, “The initiative to honour outstanding participants in public life and politics in the UK, began as a small experiment to honour all those who contribute so much in various ways, irrespective of nationality, colour, creed, gender and political affiliation.

“I am most grateful to Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, his office as well as the Staff of the House of Commons who have enabled us to reach a very satisfactory stage so far...”

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP and Chairman of Home Affairs Select Committee added, “The uniqueness of these awards is that they are held in the mother of Parliaments and that they honour and recognise political figures who have really impressed the British Asian community. They also celebrate Asian talent in the public and political sphere outside of Westminster…

“I hope the evening will be remembered as one where we celebrated achievement, but also looked to the future. We remain citizen of the most multicultural country in the world, and you are a mirror of that world...”

Receiving his awards, the most anticipated celebrity for the evening, Riyad Mahrez told the audience, “Thank you to the Asian Voice and its readers for this prestigious award. It’s a great honour to be here tonight and to be nominated among some amazing athletes.

“Leicester is a proud multicultural city with a big Asian community, so it’s a great honour to accept this award from the Asian Voice as a representative of Leicester City and the city of Leicester.

“It’s already been an amazing season for everyone at Leicester City and we’re still working hard to finish strongly and to keep making our community proud.”

Receiving the Parliamentarian of the Year award, Rt Hon Angus Robertson MP thanked the Asian community for their contributions in Scotland.

Renowned journalist Mathew Parris from The Times, receiving his award thanked Asian Voice, and said how he felt it was unacceptable that there was slight disregard for the Asian community- blamed after the misbehaviour of a certain minority group.

Receiving Community Engagement award, Rt Hon Lord Feldman of Elstree, the Chairman of the Conservative party, assured that the party is doing its level best to include more and more people of minority origin.

The community event of the year award was given to Europe India Forum. Receiving the award, Manoj Ladwa thanked all the welcome partners for their efforts to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Wembley stadium event such a success last November. Founder and CEO of the MLS Chase Group and UK Welcomes Modi Event Coordinator, Ladwa, who had just returned that evening from Brussles, where the Indian diaspora is preparing to welcome Mr Modi on 30th March, passed on the Indian PM's special greetings to CB Patel and the 'Mahatma of Leicester'- the Rt Hon Keith Vaz. Thanking the readers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar for choosing the forum as a winner, he concluded by urging Britain to stay within EU.

The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Sir Trevor McDonald OBE. Besides political and public life candidates, there were 4 unique business winners this year. Asset India received an award for being the fastest growing property company in the UK, Uflex, a manufacturing company worth £2bn received an award for business performance and innovation, Market Finance Solutions, won the award for being UK’s one of fastest growing independent lenders and Kolak Snack Food Ltd for ingenuity in business.

The charity for the evening was Silver Star, and some of the raffle prizes included Jet airways goodie bags, £500 voucher from Travelpack, a Leicester team t-shirt signed by Mahrez, a huge teddy bear and a bottle of Smirnoff.

Photo courtesy: Raj D Bakrania, PrMediapix

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