Dr Fouzia Shershad, daughter of former Union Minister and IUML MP E Ahamed, might contest the bye elections for her father’s erstwhile constituency, media reports say. While Dr Fouzia told TNM that she hasn’t made up her mind yet, if she does get an IUML ticket, it will be historic.
So far, the Indian Union Muslim League has named a woman candidate only once - Khamarunnisa Anvar contested, and lost, in the 1996 Assembly elections from Kozhikode.
Speaking to TNM, Dr Fouzia said, “A lot of people from Malappuram are requesting me to contest in the bye elections. But I haven’t taken a decision yet. I have also seen the media reports about my candidature. I have to think before taking a decision.”
While some reports say that the national treasurer of the party, PK Kunhalikutty may emerge as the candidate, others suggest that a section of the leaders prefer Dr Fouzia.
IUML national secretary ET Mohammed Basheer though has denied the reports. “We have also seen the media reports. But the truth is that we haven’t discussed the issue yet. We will discuss it at the national executive meeting of the party in Chennai on February 27,” he said.
IUML is infamous for not fielding women. Though the women’s wing of the right wing party - Vanitha League - had demanded at least one ticket in the last Assembly elections, the IUML leaders ignored it.
The League is the second largest party in the UDF coalition in Kerala, and is dominated by men - apparently because it doesn’t prefer to attract the wrath of the clergy by giving prominence to women. Two prominent Sunni factions - the EK faction, and the faction led by Kanthapuram AP Abubacker Musliyar - owe allegiance to the IUML.
When asked about the issue, Mohammad Basheer claimed, “Fielding a woman candidate is another thing. This is not the time to comment on that.”
Dr Fouzia Shershad’s name came to the fore when she spoke out against Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia hospital when her father passed away. Back then, Dr Fouzia had said that doctors’ negligence had caused her father’s death.
Reiterating her allegation, she told TNM: “At present I am fighting against the injustice of the doctors of the RML hospital in Delhi. Their negligence caused my father’s death. I am praying for the almighty to guide me.”