KOZHIKODE: Becoming the first women to make it to the IUML state secretariat committee has come as a realisation of a long-pending demand for Kamarunnisa Anwar, Noorbina Rasheed and K P Mariyumma. The trio is also planning to fully utilise the opportunity to empower more than one lakh female members in the IUML.The election to the state secretariat committee of the IUML was held on Sunday. The party, for the first time in its 70-year history, unanimously elected the three women and also Dalit representatives U C Raman and A P Unnikrishnan to the committee. Till now, IUML has had women and Dalit representation in its state working committee and also provided them with separate platforms.
“Our selection to the secretariat committee is a stepping stone for many others. For long, other political parties criticised IUML for lacking women representation in its secretariat committee. Our appointment is the party’s answer to them,” said Noorbina, who is currently general secretary of the Women’s League. She said more women representatives will be elected to the committee in the coming days.“The party has entrusted us with a great responsibility. We are now part of IUML’s decision-making body,” she said.
Hailing the decision as crucial, Mariyumma, the president of Women’s League, said, “The women community in the state is in trouble. It is time they are empowered and brought to the mainstream. The number of active women members in IUML has also grown over the years with them constituting a significant percentage of the party’s strength,” she said. “Our leaders are far-sighted and have taken the decision to induct women into the party’s decision-making body at the right time,” Mariyumma said. Kamarunnisa said the decision showed IUML was open to women foraying into politics and playing vital roles. “We are now supposed to work for empowering and uplifting the women fraternity in the state,” she said.
Raman, one of the two Dalit representatives elected to the IUML state secretariat committee, said the party had always been open to Dalit issues. “There was no discrimination on the basis of religion. The decision to include Dalit representatives in the state committee has come at a crucial time as Dalits are facing severe problems across the country,” he said.IUML vice-president M I Thangal said the decision to induct women in the decision-making body was part of the transition within the party.
“It is a fact women were not elected to the secretariat committee earlier. But it is time the party accepts changes in its policies. The number of active women members in IUML has grown and the party cannot keep them at arm’s length. They are a vital part of the organisation,” Thangal said.He said more changes will be evident within the party in the coming days. He said there had been allegations of male dominance in IUML. “Many criticised us for our narrow outlook. We have decided to shred it,” he said.
UML general secretary K P A Majeed said the decision to induct more members into the decision-making committee was taken considering the present political scenario.“Our membership has grown tremendously. We have over four lakh new members. There are more than one lakh women members in our party. The party considered all these factors while electing the new secretariat committee. It also realised the importance of empowering women and Dalit in the state,” Meanwhile, Sayed Hydrali Shihab Thangal and K P A Majeed were unanimously elected as president and general secretary, respectively, of the party in Sunday’s elections.The newly-elected secretariat committee has 63 members, including 27 office bearers. There are 11 new faces in the secretariat committee. The total membership of IUML in the state is 20.41 lakh.