Ahamed says he is fit and would abide by party decision

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is unlikely to replace its national president E. Ahamed in the Lok Sabha elections taking place on April 10. Although the high-level secretariat meeting of the party being held at Kozhikode on Monday will finalise the candidates for Malappuram and Ponnani constituencies, the IUML’s top leadership does not favour a change of the existing candidates. E.T. Mohammed Basheer and Mr. Ahamed are likely to contest the elections one more time from Ponnani and Malappuram.

“We will not ask Ahamed Sahib, who is our senior-most leader with a national standing, to step down. It is up to him to decide whether to contest or not, depending on his health,” said IUML State general secretary K.P.A. Majeed.

Mr. Ahamed, during a telephonic chat with The Hindu, said that he was in good health. “By the grace of God, I have no health problems now. But as a loyal party man, it is my duty to abide by the decisions of the party. I will obey what the party says,” he said.

Mr. Ahamed indicated that there was no situation where he had to step down. Sources close to Mr. Ahamed too said that the party national president was fit and prepared enough to try yet another term as an experienced parliamentarian.

Senior IUML leaders, not willing to be quoted, said that it was a time when the party needed the experience and skills of Mr. Ahamed at the national level. They said that the party could not ignore the fact that it got a ministerial berth twice in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre largely because of the diplomatic skills of Mr. Ahamed.

In the IUML, the decisions of the leadership are generally accepted by the lower rungs. This is largely because of the awe with which the Sayed Shihab family of Panakkad, which holds the top position in the hierarchy of leadership, is held by the cadres. When the Shihab Thangal says something, seldom will there be an opposition to it in the party. The top leadership of the IUML could overrule the demands of the party cadres many times before. In the last Assembly elections, the party had fielded Abdussamad Samadani in Kottakkal and K.N.A. Khader in Vallikkunnu in spite of the demands by the cadres against it.

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