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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

First IUML minister at the Centre

E. AhammedFor the first time in the history of independent India Muslim League is sharing power at the centre and the credit for this goes to E. Ahammed who has been appointed minister of state for external affairs in the new government. He appears to be happy with this appointment, not because of his personal gain but because now the country has recognised Muslim League as a mainstream party. He says that though the League’s policy has never been communal, a particular section of the country’s population has always considered it communal but now with his induction in the Union council of ministers, this misconception should be removed.

Though Muslim League has been sharing power in Kerala for decades, this is its first at the centre. It is also true that for the first time not a single Congress member has been elected from Kerala for this Lok Sabha. Moreover, E. Ahammed is the only person representing Kerala in the central government.

Born on 29 April 1938 in a respectable family of Kannur of north Malabar, Ahammed won as a UDF candidate by a majority of more than one lakh votes. This is for the fifth time that he has consecutively won Lok Sabha elections. Before joining politics he was a practicing lawyer. 

Ahammed started his political career by joining Muslim United Federation. In 1967 he was for the first time elected to Kerala Assembly and remained an MLA till 1991 consecutively for 5 terms. He was also Kerala’s minister for industry from 1982 to 87 in Karunakaran ministry. In 1991 he was for the first time elected to the 10th Lok Sabha and has always won ever since.

In 1984 late prime minister Indira Gandhi selected him as her special representative to Gulf countries to meet Arab heads of governments and states and to explain India’s policies. He also represented India at the UN General Assembly from 1992 to 1997.

Ahammed is known for his liberal views. During the past 30 years he has played an important role in strengthening the Muslim League and cementing its relations with Congress. He is also a member of AMU court, MEA Engineering College, Central Haj Committee, Kerala State Waqf Board and executive director of Chandrika, a Malayalam daily. He has also served as member of many standing committees of Parliament and has authored around 30 books.

During the Gujarat riots of 2002 Ahammed rendered valuable assistance to the riot-hit people, both in his personal capacity as well as at his party’s level. He toured riot-hit areas during curfew hours and saw with his own eyes Modi’s anger and blood-thirsty mob’s barbarism.

In reply to a question about his priorities as a minister, he said that he will do full justice to his ministry, try his best to bridge the gulf between Hindus and Muslims and do every thing possible to improve India’ image at international level. «

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