Former Union minister E Ahamed passes away, row over presenting Budget

Former Union minister E Ahamed passes away, row over presenting Budget

PTI | Last Updated: 01 Feb 2017 07:02 PM
New Delhi: Former Union minister and IUML leader E Ahamed, who was widely considered as India's 'unofficial ambassador' to Gulf countries, passed away early today but a row broke out over the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament in the light of the death of the sitting MP.

The Centre was also accused by the Congress of delaying the announcement of the death of 78-year-old Ahamed at government-run RML hospital in Delhi to facilitate the presentation of Budget as scheduled. Ahamed is a sitting Lok Sabha MP from Mallapuram in Kerala.

Ahamed died at 2:15 AM at Ram Manohar Lohia(RML) hospital where he was admitted yesterday and put on artificial life support. The Indian Union Muslim League(IUML) leader collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest during the President's address at the joint sitting of Parliament and was rushed to RML hospital yesterday.

"E Ahamed passed away at 2:15 AM. His body has been taken to AIIMS hospital for embalming as the facility is not available at RML," a senior RML doctor told PTI. A widower, Ahamed is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the Centre for presenting the Union Budget, hours after the death of Ahmed saying it was "improper, unfortunate and amounted to showing disrespect" to the departed leader.

"Presenting budget in the same building within hours after his death was totally improper and unfortunate. The Centre has gone ahead with the budget presentation, hurting the sentiments of the members of the House," he said in a statement in Thiruvananthapuram .

"The act amounted to disrespect to the memories of the deceased and insulting the democratic consciousness of the nation. It was a grave mistake that the government had gone ahead with the budget presentation at a time when tributes should have been paid to such a senior leader," he said.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top leaders cutting across party lines paid rich tributes to Ahamed.

Modi said Ahamed's efforts for empowerment of the Muslim community will be remembered, noting that he served the nation with great diligence.

He said Ahamed devoted significant efforts towards Kerala's progress and his role in deepening India's ties with West Asia was notable.

Ahamed was not only an able Parliamentarian and administrator, but also is considered as India's 'unofficial ambassador' to Gulf countries due to his proximity with leaders in that region.

Ahamed had served the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh from 2004-12 as Minister of State for External Affairs and Railways besides holding the additional charge of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Ahamed, who started his political innings in Kerala with five stints as member of state assembly, proved his administrative capabilities as Industries Minister in 1982.

Rejecting demands from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha to postpone the presentation of the Budget following the death of Ahamed, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to carry out the exercise saying it was a "constitutional obligation".

Mahajan, however, said Lok Sabha will not sit tomorrow as a mark of respect for the departed leader.Ahamed had also tried his hand as a journalist-- both as Sub editor and Reporter of the party newspaper 'Chandrika' and played a vital role in the growth of the newspaper.

"They had information (about E Ahmed's death) and could have decided yesterday (to make it public) but they put that on hold. They thought they will take a decision after the presentation of the Budget.

"This is an inhuman act. To deal with a politician like this at such a time is not acceptable. There is ample time for conducting the Budget. They could have postponed the Budget and conducted it tomorrow but they have dismissed this," Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters in Delhi.

High drama prevailed at RML hospital when top Congress leaders visited the hospital to enquire about Ahamed's health last night amid allegations that his family was not being allowed to meet him.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides other party leaders rushed to the hospital late at night and met Ahamed's family.

"Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel rushed to the RML hospital because E Ahamed's family, who collapsed today, is not being permitted to meet him or to know about his well being. This is complete high-handedness of the government," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told PTI.

He said the government has stopped the blood relatives of the former Union Minister from meeting him or knowing about his critical state at such a time.

Sources add that Ahamed's son, daughters and son-in-law were at the hospital and even had an exchange of hot words with the hospital authorities.

Former Defence Minister and Congress leader A K Antony termed as "cruel" the behaviour of the RML Hospital authorities towards Ahamed's family members.

In an obvious reference to the demand for delaying the budget announcement following the death of Ahamed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the "controversial budget" became even more controversial.

"Controversial budget became even more controversial," Banerjee said in a statement.

"Very sad to see the way E Ahamed Ji and family were handled. Condolences to the family of E Ahamed ji. He was first elected as an MLA 50 years ago and served the nation and the people of Kerala," the TMC added.

Ahamed, a widely travelled politician, had represented India in United Nations 10 times.

He was also an active member of the Union government's Haj Committee and also co-chairman for the high-level monitoring mechanism of India and Qatar in 2011.

In 1984, he was sent to GCC countries as an Emissary of the then Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi.

Ahamed had started his political innings in Kerala with five stints as member of state assembly and proved his administrative capabilities as Industries Minister in 1982.

It was during his tenure that a new Industrial culture took shape in the state with the setting up of KELTRON.

Ahamed gave a national face to IUML, a partner in the Congress-led UDF coalition.

Born to Abdul Khader Haji and Nasifa Beevi in 1938, he had his early education in Tana in Kannur district. He graduated from the Brennen College, Thalassery and earned a law degree from Thiruvananthapuram Law college.

For a short period, he practised in a court in Thalassery and Kerala High Court.
A student leader and founder general secretary of the Muslim Students Federation, Ahamed was first elected as MLA in 1967 and was member of the house in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1987.

In 1991, he shifted his political arena to Delhi and became Lok Sabha member from Manjeri in Malappuram district and went on to win from the same constituency in 1996, 1998, and 1999.

In 2004 polls, Ahamed's victory was the saving grace for Congress-led UDF as all other 19 seats were won by CPI(M) led LDF.

In the 2014 elections, Ahamed had won by the largest margin of over one lakh votes. Ahamed also had four books in English and Malayalam as author to his credit
First Published: 01 Feb 2017 07:02 PM
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