NEW DELHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 1:
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. (PTI)