Is regional the new national? Or are regional parties too concerned with only local concerns?
To find out, head for the fourth edition of The Telegraph Bihar Debate, scheduled to be held at the Maurya on Sunday evening.
The event, which began in 2011, has come to showcase the many facets of the argumentative Indian.
The motion for this year’s debate is: In the opinion of the House, regional parties have the vision to lead India.
Eight sharp minds who have a way with words — and a yen for debate — will exchange verbal volleys as they take the stage and engage in a war minus the shooting.
The panel will see regional rivals speak as one against the national parties, which will be battling on the same side.
Speaking in favour of the motion will be Harivansh, editor-in-chief of the Prabhat Khabar group and a recent entrant into the Rajya Sabha from the Janata Dal (United), Dr Manoj Jha, national spokesperson for the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Basant Kumar Choudhary, legal eagle who will be representing the Aam Aadmi Party, and Dr Prasenjit Bose, economist from the Left though he isn’t associated with any political grouping at present.
Pitted against them are Meenakshi Lekhi, advocate and national spokesperson for the BJP, Ashok Choudhary, president of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee, Alok Dhanwa, poet and social commentator who sprang to fame during the JP Movement, and Barkha Dutt, group editor of NDTV and one of the country’s respected journalists.
The Telegraph debate is an initiative that reflects the newspaper’s stress on promoting debate and discussion. The Telegraph believes that debates are integral to democracy and freedom, two virtues to which the newspaper is committed. The Telegraph publishes on its pages a range of views so long as they are logically argued. This commitment to debate The Telegraph carries beyond its pages.
For the audience, it is an opportunity to partake of the intellectual excitement generated by the speakers’ incisive wit and powerful rhetoric.
So what is The Telegraph Debate in sum? It is a tribute to Patna’s intellectual history and tradition, it is a toast to The Telegraph’s commitment to discussion and the world of ideas; it is a salute to the argumentative Indian in us all.