Malappuram: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has crossed a major milestone with Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal taking over as the new president of its Kerala unit. IUML was formed in 1948 – a year after Indian Independence – and for the first time, the party will be led in the state by a person born after that event. In other words, a generational change has taken place in the party.
Sadiq Ali Thangal makes his stand clear on various issues affecting the party.
As the new state chief of IUML, what are your immediate priorities?
The post of party state president came to me only as part of the hierarchy followed by IUML. On the demise of our father Pookoya Thangal – who was the state chief at that time – my elder brother Muhammedali Shihab Thangal took over. When Muhammedali Thangal passed away, his younger brother Hyderali Thangal became the Kerala party chief. And now, on Hyderali Thangal’s death, the post came to me. It is not a personal achievement. I have a glorious tradition to follow.
As a party firmly rooted in tradition, would IUML be able to tackle the challenges of the digital age?
IUML faces the same challenge as other parties, which is the excessive intrusion of social media. We need to find ways to spread the message of the party without distortion through social media. I promise that we would be honest in this effort and will not engage in cyber wars or attacks.
There are rumours that IUML would be shifting its loyalties to the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). Did any discussion take place in this regard?
IUML has not discussed this matter. I am certain about this, having taken part in all the major party meetings after Hyderali Thangal fell ill. Moreover, party national secretary P K Kunhalikutty too has made this clear.
Will you launch efforts to bring various communities together?
UDF’s strength is the support of the minorities and trust of the majority community. This will be taken forward; otherwise, UDF will suffer.
Many people believe IUML and Samastha do not enjoy cordial relations as before. What is your opinion?
IUML and Samastha have a long friendship and it will continue. Along with holding a post in IUML, I am also a worker of Samastha. Earlier, I was the state president of SSF, the students’ wing of Samastha.
Sadiq Ali Thangal is known to be forthright and frank in his views. As party state chief, could we expect a change in the style?
Each post carries its own dignity and would certainly influence one’s style.
A brief biodata of new IUML state chief
Sadiq Ali Thangal was born on May 25, 1964 as the son of IUML former state president Pookoya Thangal and Khadeeja Beevi. Sadiq Ali Thangal was earlier state chief of SKSSF and Youth League. He is presently IUML Malappuram district chief, member of the high-level committee of the party and vice-president of SYS, among other positions.
His family comprises wife Sayyida Sulfath, children Azeel Ali Shihab Thangal, Dr Shaheen Ali Shihab Thangal and Yamin Ali Shihab Thangal and daughter-in-law Sindra Aideed.