Mega conclave sees presence of India’s biggest political leaders and voices on one stage, from Union Cabinet Ministers, and MPs to a Chief Minister and top party leaders and spokespersons.
India’s biggest political conclave was organized by India News, titled “Manch, 2021”, during the special occasion of Vijay Diwas at the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi. The mega conclave witnessed the presence of India’s biggest political leaders and voices on one stage, from Union Cabinet ministers, and MPs to Chief Minister and top party leaders and spokespersons, with the audience witnessing some very compelling panel discussions and exclusive interviews ahead of next year’s election season. Both The Sunday Guardian and India News are a part of the iTV Network.
In a statement, Kartikeya Sharma, Founder of the iTV Network, said, “It was a pleasure today to host seven sitting Union Ministers, 28 Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers and political leaders in the biggest political conclave on the eve of a major election season. We hope our viewers have the opportunity to hear a vibrant and pointed discourse on some of the most burning issues and engage with us on social media. The conclave showcases the creditable role our network is playing at the pivot of a crucial national discourse, from politics to reform and progress. We look forward to hosting equally impactful such events in the new year.”
The event started with a tribute to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat along with a discussion about the history of Vijay Diwas, or the 1971 India-Pakistan War of Bangladesh Liberation.
The panel discussion began with remembering the sacrifices of the brave soldiers of the Indian Army. Former Chief of Indian Army, General J.J. Singh said, “After World War-II, this was the biggest war.” While explaining the grand strategy of the war, he said that all arms of the military—Army, Air Force and Navy, contributed to the success of the war. The economic and the corporate structure along with the leadership led to the success of the war.
He added that the Army is now taking several steps to deal with the new generation of warfare, including cyber warfare or hybrid warfare. During the Kargil war, all three services were integrated and procurement and procedures were streamlined and mandated, though the war was successful but not institutionalized. Today, our institutions are thriving, but there is still a need for huge investments in R&D facilities.
During the discussion, Air Marshal Anil Chopra said, “Indian flag flutters not due to wind but due to the breath of every last soldier standing. The war of 1971 is one of the largest surrenders and fastest victories of India. This war showed the unity amongst the Air Force, Army and Navy and how this joint operation led to success, helping India win against Pakistan.”
He also added, “Although the indigenization of forces, technology, joint operations are working well with many countries, for India, being ‘Atmanirbhar’ is important.”
Similarly, Lt Gen P.J.S. Pannu discussed the dynamics of warfare and said, “The nature of warfare has changed, after Independence, India was young and had fought five great wars—1947, 1948, 1961, 1962 and 1965, but the war of 1971 was a decisive victory. It showed that the nation had a balanced strategy and strong cooperation between all three forces.”
Talking about how the industrial revolution changed warfare in the contemporary world, he said, “World has been moving from analogous to autonomous warfare. Today, the nation must be prepared for technology warfare.”
The next discussion was on politics, Nayi Sadi Naya Bharat, where Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, discussed the plan of employment. Talking about the post-pandemic circumstances, he said that during the pandemic, the government had been working on re-skilling and making efforts to digitalise the workforce to continue its involvement in the economy. “My 15 years of public service taught me the significance of technology and established that India is the fastest-growing economy while receiving the largest foreign investment. During post Covid times, digital adoption was accelerated and many jobs were created, with more than 8 lakh Indian and Indian companies partnering with international companies,” he said. He also specified the importance of vaccination and the achievement of the present government.
Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, talked about the development of village sectors in India. He said that most of the policies of the Narendra Modi government were based on the “Atmanirbhar package” and “village centric yojana”. While describing the success of the economic situation in rural India, he explained that the Amul model helped expedite the growth of the rural economy. He said, “Mobile veterinary unit has helped animals.” He also talked about artificial insemination that helped improve the breed of the animals, providing subsidies and experts to help out small-scale farmers and allied sections of agriculture and animal farming to boost the sector.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister for Civil Aviation, said, “There is no selling of airports; we have given the airports…on long term lease. We have given them on a 50-year lease. From next year, every traveller’s revenue share will go to the government, and after 50 years all airports with all their investments will be given back to the government free after which the government will have full control of it.”
Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Science and Technology, said, “Within a couple of years, the first Indian man will go to space, on Gaganyaan.” The audience was happy to hear that India’s space mission would be launched soon. Singh added that the audience would be happier to know that “when there will be a man in space, at the same time an Indian will be 5,000 meters deep in the sea”. He added, “there were a lot of delays because of Covid.”
Gajendra S. Shekhawat, Union Minister for Jal Shakti, said, “When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister for the second time, what he said from the Red Fort was that ‘the schemes we have started for the benefits of the common man have succeeded and in the same way we will free the woman who has been carrying water from long distances.” He added, “We will provide potable water to every household by the end of 2024.” The minister further talked about the developmental works undertaken by the BJP government like Namami Gange mission, treating every tributary from Gangotri to Rishikesh and much more. Expressing confidence ahead of the upcoming elections, he said, “BJP will fight under PM Modi’s leadership and win.”
Cricketer turned BJP MP, Gautam Gambhir shared his views on nationalism, serving the nation amid the Covid-19 pandemic and addressed the threats that came his way for serving the people of the country. Gambhir used the occasion to shut down naysayers and critics and stated his stand has always been clear on Kashmir and Pakistan and stated that “it is our duty to stand with our jawans”. Attacking the AAP government, he said that AAP failed to deliver on its promises and has been using taxpayers’ money to give freebies and advertise itself. Gambhir added: “When I became a parliamentarian, I didn’t know we would be struck with such a pandemic but then I told everyone that this is the opportunity for us to prove our nationalism. Everyone was saying negatively that we don’t have this and that, but that was the time for every Indian to do things with a sincere heart. That was the time to show, not what this nation has done for me but what I can do for this nation, and what we could have given back to the nation in these two years was very important.”
As India marches towards becoming a global leader in semiconductor chip manufacturing, Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, spoke about the government’s vision and said that India is currently dependent on other countries for chips that are used in phones, but the government is hoping to become Atmanirbhar in 4 to 5 years. He further talked about the government providing a Rs 76,000 crore push for semiconductor makers.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, Road, Transport & Highways, spoke in detail about manufacturing, development and growth. The Cabinet minister underlined the link between road infrastructure and development; he revealed that the government aims to make new roads connecting Delhi to other states. Talking about eventually switching to green vehicles, he added that growth happens when tech reaches rural areas.
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal set the tone for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab. He said, “AAP will disclose the CM face for Punjab closer to elections.” He said that the party’s CM face in the state will work for the whole of Punjab, and not for any particular community. He added, “AAP’s Punjab CM face will be competent, hard-working and won’t do communal politics. People of Punjab hope that AAP will bring a positive change in the state.”
Piyush Goel, Union Minister, Commerce and Industry, spoke about India’s growing prominence across the world under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spoke in favour of reforms. He said, “Systematic reforms over the years have helped India gain prominence across the world and the world views us as a trusted partner. Despite Covid, a lot of nations want to do business with India.” Talking about manufacturing semiconductors in India, he added, “Previous governments did not take manufacturing semi-conductors seriously. Within 5-7 years, there will be semiconductor hubs that will generate employment.”
The India News Manch also witnessed many politically-charged panel discussions comprising Rakesh Tikait, Raj Kumar Chahar, Asaduddin Owaisi, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Rakesh Sinha, Acharya Pramod Krishnam, Ram Madhav and Manish Tiwari. Rakesh Tikait and Raj Kumar Chahar discussed MSP and farm politics while Hyderabad parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi and Rajya Sabha member of the BJP Sudhanshu Trivedi discussed the issue of Muslim representation, Mughals, Uttar Pradesh elections and Parliament disruptions. The special session “Remembering Raj Kapoor”, featuring Randhir Kapoor, Rahul Mittra and Rahul Rawail, was also an important part of the conclave.