25 June 2008 National

Death of Bannatwala plunges IUML circles into sorrow

Thiruvananthapuram, June 25 (PTI) The death of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) president G M Bannatwala plunged party circles in Kerala into shock as the departed leader was part and parcel of the politics in the state, from where he got elected to the Lok Sabha several times.

A gifted parliamentarian and orator, Bannatwala was the national voice of the minority community in Parliament on crucial issues like the Shah Bano case, demolition of the Babri Masjid and minority rights, including the personal law.

Bannatwala represented Ponnani constituency in the IUML heartland Malappuram from 1977 to 89 and after a break from 1996 to 2004.

On all occasion, he was returned to Parliament with very high margins, reflecting the trust the people in the area dominated by Mappila Muslims reposed on him.

He was the national face of IUML, especially after Ibrahim Suleiman Sait left the League and floated Indian National League (INL) following difference with a section in the party over continuance of ties with the Congress after the Babri Masjid incident.

Despite constraints of speaking in Malayalam, he had been able to strike a chord with the common man as he was always on the forefront of taking up their problems, both in Parliament and outside.

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OUTLOOK 25 June, 2008