Shoukath stands by his pro-Palestine rally, will not attend CPM's solidarity event

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Aryadan Shoukath. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress general secretary Aryadan Shoukath on Monday made it clear that he was not in the least apologetic about the pro-Palestine rally he had organised in Malappuram on November 3 defying the party but at the same time he said he would remain a "disciplined worker" of the Congress party.

Nonetheless, Shoukath showed a reluctance to outrightly reject the CPM invite to its Palestine Solidarity rally on November 11. Clearly, he will not attend the CPM rally but conveyed the message indirectly. "I am a person holding the responsible post of a KPCC general secretary. So I think you can easily assume what my response to such invites would be," is how he responded to a question on the CPM invite.

This is almost similar to the "technical" reason cited by the Muslim League to keep away from participating in the CPM rally. He refused to be drawn further into questions about the CPM support for him.

Shoukath was talking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram as he arrived at the KPCC headquarters to state his case before the KPCC Ethics Committee. He said his major responsibility was to remove any misunderstanding his party had about him. Earlier, it was reported that the KPCC was not satisfied with the explanation he had given for going ahead with the rally in defiance of the party diktat.

It also looked like Shoukath was in no mood to repent either. He even suggested that he did the right thing as he felt the Congress was obliged to throw its weight behind the Palestine cause.

"My understanding is that the Indian National Congress has a history of speaking and fighting for the people of Palestine even while it was in the midst of the freedom struggle. In 1938, when Subhash Chandra Bose was the AICC president, the Congress passed a resolution in favour of Palestine. Congress was also the party that had taken strong exception to the declaration of Israel as a religious state. The Congress had then said this was a door leading to hell. This is precisely why it is the responsibility of the Congress to stand in solidarity with the Palestine people. I was doing only this," Shoukath said.

Shoukath's November 2 rally is widely seen in political circles as a show of strength by his faction. The Shoukath faction believes that the AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, using his clout as a national leader, was arbitrarily undermining the faction's prominence in Malappuram. The Shoukath faction leaders say that many of its leaders were removed from top positions in the district unit of the party. The November 2 pro-Palestine rally, it is said, is part of Shoukath's aggressive strategy to resist the attempts of leaders like Venugopal and A P Anilkumar to control the district unit of the party after the death of Aryadan Mohammed.

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