Campaign for India Islamic Cultural Centre elections getting intensified

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: One week left for the election of the managing body of New Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), the campaign has been intensified as the election, with veteran Congress leader and former central minister Salman Khursheed in the fray for the presidency, has become a high-profile one.

The IICC elections for the post of President, Vice President, members of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee will be held on January 18 at IICC premises located at Lodhi Road. The last election was held in 2004. Besides two candidates for the president, two are fighting for vice president, 36 for 7-member Board of Trustees and 31 are for 4-member Executive Committee.

Sirajuddin Qureshi on IICC election

As part of campaign and to mobilize support current president of IICC Sirajuddin Qureshi, who is a well known businessman and national leader of the Quresh community, threw a lavish party today for the members of IICC. Hundreds of people attended the programme wherein speaker after speaker praised the role of Sirajuddin Qureshi in successful completion of the construction project of the IICC. Qureshi, who is contesting for the second term of the president, was flanked by members of his team which include Safdar Hussain Khan, senior general manager, India Trade Promotion Organization, for the vice president of IICC. He is current vice president.

Senior Congress leader Salman Khursheed is also working overtime mobilizing support for him and his panel that includes Delhi State Minority Commission chairman Kamal Faruqui for the vice president of IICC. Khursheed held a similar meeting of IICC members yesterday.

As Khursheed and Qureshi have logged horn for the coveted post there seems to be a war of words between the two.

Salman Khursheed talking to to Congress leader Salman Khursheed said he had no hidden agenda behind his decision to contest IICC election. My friends, colleagues and people who are members of the IICC came and said they want the centre get an international profile, and that it amplify the dreams of its founders. They urged me to help them to achieve the goal and I readily agreed.

Sirajuddin Qureshi, on the other hand, told TCN he wondered why he (Khursheed) decided to jump in the fray. Sought his reaction to Khursheed’s view that common feeling is that the current management of IICC is using it for self promotion and political ambitions, Qureshi said he had nothing to say except that “he (Khursheed) is a professional politician and I am a professional social activist.”

As far as top priority of the contenders for the top post is concerned, Qureshi told Education, professional training and enhancement of coaching for IAS examinations will be his top priority.

Khursheed said: The VIP culture at the IICC will be brought to an end. The VIP room at the centre is contrary to the Islamic and democratic ideas, and against the spirit of the centre. Amendments will be made in the membership rules and membership fee of Rs 30,000 will be cut to pave the way for academicians and intellectuals who cannot pay such high fee. He also said coaching and training of Muslim youths for new leadership roles will be given priority.

The IICC, now a hub of activities and programmes, seminars, symposiums on mostly Muslim issues, was inaugurated by Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on June 12, 2006. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had laid the foundation stone of the centre on August 24 1984. It took about 22 years for the centre to complete.