In a historic move, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a key ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front has fielded a woman candidate - Noorbina Rasheed - in the Kerala elections after 25 years. Rasheed will be contesting the polls from Kozhikode South constituency in April.
While speaking to the media, Rasheed said, “There were allegations that women were not given importance in our party. This is a reply to them. I will take up the responsibility and fulfil my duties towards the voters.”
IUML also considered Jayanthi Rajan and Suhara Mambadu for the Kerala assembly elections but eventually Rasheed was chosen to contest.
The last woman candidate from IUML was Khamarunnisa Anwar, who was pitted against a CPI (M) candidate in the Kerala elections in 1996. Since then there has been no female candidate, until Rasheed this year.
A lawyer by profession, Rasheed began her political career in her 30s as the Founding General Secretary of State of the Kerala State Women's League Committee. Currently, she holds the position of the National General Secretary of IUML, and is a member of the State Secretariat. She was previously the former councillor of the Kozhikode Corporation.
"I have worked hard on the ground and raised issues of women's representation within the party several times on many internal forums," Rasheed said, adding that she is the only woman member of the political affairs of the Muslim League.
Clearing the air, she said that there was no pressure from IUML’s women’s wing, Vanitha League to field a woman candidate. It was a unanimous decision made by party leaders, and she’s grateful to them for this opportunity.
IUML’s candidate list
Rasheed is among the 25 candidates to have been fielded by IUML for the upcoming Kerala elections. Eight sitting MLAs have been selected by the party, besides former Malappuram MP and senior party leader PK Kunhalikutty, who resigned from his Lok Sabha seat recently to contest the polls.
VK Ibrahim Kunju and MC Kamaruddin who were both accused in various scams were denied tickets.
IUML has been allotted 27 seats out of the total 140. Two more candidates would be announced later.
Kerala will go to the polls on April 6 to elect 140 MLAs to the 15th State Legislative Assembly. Results will be out on May 2, along with West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)