E Ahamed, doyen of Muslim politics in India, passes away

E Ahamed, former Union minister and  Indian Union Muslim League national president who passed away today early morning at Ram Manohar Lohya Hospital, New Delhi had a long innings in national politics. E Ahamed collapsed in Lok Sabha after suffering a cardiac arrest and was rushed to a hospital where he died. He was representing Muslim-dominated Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Parliament.

He was secular and a strategist among the Muslim politicians in India.

He was Member of Parliament for 25 years and a legislator for 18 years. He was a minister for industries in Kerala during 1982-87 and Union minister of state for external affairs during 2004-09 and held portfolios of railways, external affairs and human resource development in the second UPA government.

The 78-year-old Ahamed will be remembered for ever for his secular stand he voiced in United Nations Assembly when he categorically made that Indian Muslims didn't want Kashmir to join Pakistan. His statement gave India an edge over Pakistan in terms of Kashmir issue.

His efforts at diplomatic and personal-level helped India to maintain warm relationship with Arab world and he was rated as a trusted friend of Arab world.  He used his personal friendship with the Arab world for cementing India's ties with Gulf nations.

Born in Kannur in a business family, Ahamed  joined IUML during his student days. His friendly manners and intelligence helped him to become chairman of Kannur Municipal Council when he was 25. Later he shifted to Malappuram  where he excelled as the most popular politician among  IUML cadres.

Ahamed took a strong stand after the demolition of Babri Masjid to remain with Congress when IUML national president late Ibrahim Sulaiman Sett wanted to snap ties with the ruling Congress.

"It was a turbulent period in our party. There was high pressure for snapping ties with Congress and shift to more aggressive stand. But if we had taken such stand,  the radicals elements would have taken control of our party affairs," E Ahamed once told. His biggest contribution to Kerala was he delayed the process of radicalization among the Muslim community in the state.

Kerala condoled the death of the popular leader E. Ahamed.

Chief Minister Pianrayi Vijayan in his condolence message, remembered E. Ahamed as a great leader who contributed  for the development of the state. "His death is a great loss not only for his party and family, but also for the state," Chief Minister said.

Former Chief  Minister Oommen Chandy expressed shock over his death. "It was unfortunate we lost a great leader who always stood for the people."

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala told India Today that India lost a great statesman with his death.

"I'd close relationship with Ahamed Sahib and we were together in Parliament. I lost a great friend and India lost a secular leader," Chennithala said.

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