Ever since Adnan Sami's name was named as one of the Padma Shri awardees this year, the singer's selection by the Centre has been politicised. With parties like Congress, NCP and MNS criticizing the move, the BJP has defended the decision. BJP's National Spokesperson Sambit Patra in a news conference on Monday slammed the Congress. Among other things, Patra mentioned that Adnan Sami had written a song for the Indian Cricket team during the 2003 Cricket World Cup even though he was a Pakistan citizen at that time.
Patra listed Adnan Sami's achievements and praised him. He said, "Adnan Sami is a vocalist, world’s fastest pianist and world acclaimed music composer. He has been working in this field for 4 decades. He has sung more than 120 songs. He has conducted solo concerts in more than 40 countries. You will be delighted to know that he is in the same category as Elton John, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Rolling Stones by giving 8 full concerts in the Wembley Stadium."
The BJP Spokesperson also mentioned that Sami has worked with Asha Bhosle and "got an opportunity to learn many things from her." He added, "Sami had created a record for UNICEF’s ‘Run for Life’ song. In 2003, when Adnan Sami was a Pakistani citizen, he sang the song ‘Aa Ae O’ for the Indian team in the Cricket World Cup. He has learnt music from Pandit Shivkumar Sharma."
Slamming the political parties indulging in politics over this, Sambit Patra said, "This only proves one thing that these liberals, AAP, Congress and 'Thauheen Bagh' people who are protesting against CAA keep saying that Pakistani Muslims are not included in this law. I do not understand, Adnan Sami is a Muslim, earlier he was a Pakistani Muslim then he applied according to the rules and got Indian Citizenship. He was conferred with a Padma Award on merit, what is the problem?"
The Song that Sambit Patra mentioned was a song Adnan Sami wrote for India during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. The video of the song captures the nationalistic spirit of competition, depicting Adnan performing with the Indian cricket team with guest appearances from Indian film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
Jaiveer Shergill, the national spokesperson of the Congress has been involved in a heated spat with Adnan Sami. Shergill has also slammed the BJP government for conferring the honour on Adnan Sami, who received Indian citizenship only four years ago. Shergill shared a video on Twitter, in which he can be seen lashing out at the government. Shergill has also asked Adnan Sami to "highlight 5 contributions that he has made towards India in the last five years." However, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh congratulated Sami on being honoured with the Padma Shri. 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.