State Times News New Delhi: The BJP said on Monday that singer Adnan Sami was “highly deserving” of Padma Shri award and hit back at opposition parties over their criticism of the decision, saying they like only those Muslims who “abuse” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Army, the Supreme Court and the country’s democracy. “They accept the traitors and shun good Muslims,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged. Addressing a press conference, Patra alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s father was “associated” with the regimes of Italian dictator Mussolini and Germany’s Hitler as he sought to counter the criticism over Sami’s father’s background as a Pakistani air force officer. If his father’s background is held against him by some “liberals” and opposition parties for criticising the Padma award to him, then the Congress should answer as to why Gandhi was given Indian citizenship. There was no immediate reaction from the Congress to the attack on the Gandhi family by the BJP.
“Adnan Sami is highly deserving and was given the Padma Shri award on merit,” Patra said, adding he was not merely a famous singer but also the world’s fastest pianist and a “world acclaimed music composer”.
He said Sami has “given eight full house concert” in Wembley stadium to be on par with the likes of Elton John, Madonna and Rolling Stone.
Sami sang a song for the India cricket team for the 2003 World Cup even though he was still a Pakistani citizen, was given musical award earlier and many Congress leaders had backed his citizenship application in India, Patra said.
The BJP leader also referred to Sami’s mother Naureen Khan’s background as a resident of Jammu to target the Congress, asking if the Congress party does not respect Muslim women from the region.
On Sunday, the Congress had hit out at the Modi government for bestowing the Padma Shri on Sami and asked why Kargil War veteran Mohmmad Sannaullah was declared a foreigner through the NRC exercise in Assam, while the son of a Pakistan Air Force pilot was conferred with one of India’s highest civilian honours.
Sami was one of the 118 people whose names were announced on Saturday for the Padma Shri awards, with the Ministry of Home Affairs list showing his home state as Maharashtra.
Sami, born in London to a Pakistani Air force veteran, applied for Indian citizenship in 2015 and became a citizen of the country in January 2016.
Patra said Sami’s father’s book was launched in India in 2008 in the presence of many senior Congress leaders and quoted his comments in praise of the “friendship” he had received here.
“These liberals, Arvind Kejriwal, the Congress… they like only one kind of Muslims. Those who abuse Modi, the Supreme Court, Indian Army and government,” he said.
Patra played on the lines of a famous Adnani Sami song to say that the mindset of the Congress needs to be lifted and the party needs to gifted some sense.
He also attacked the Congress for alleged association of its leaders with the PFI, which has been accused by BJP governments, including in Uttar Pradesh, to be a radical Islamic outfit with links to violence during the recent anti-CAA protests.
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