Afroz Alam Sahil and Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: A group of Mulim intellectuals and civil society representatives today floated a national political party namely Welfare Party of India (WPI) in a convention in the national capital. The party was launched with the support of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) and other religious and secular groups.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr Quasim Rasool Iliyas, who is also a member of the JIH governing council, said that the new political party would be a secular party with members drawn from different religions, regions and castes. “The JIH has spared some of its members to participate in the party,” he added.
The JIH had till now prohibited its members from joining political parties.
Iliyas insisted that the WPI would act as a secular political formation dedicated to the interests of the poor and the marginalised. Over time, it would reflect India’s plural character, he added. “Most importantly, the party would represent alternative politics, emerging as the voice of the voiceless, as a hope for equity and justice, and as a harbinger of new India.”
Talking about transparency and accountability of the newly floated party, he said: “Our system will be completely transparent. We will not take funds from corporate owners and those who are against our objectives. Whenever and whatever any information will be sought, we will provide that.”
The new party is likely to test political waters in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election next year. “We are ready to align with like-minded groups and initiate discussion with them,” said WPI President Mujtaba Farooque. Jamaat has welcomed Dalits and other backward castes to join the party, he informed the gathering.
The Welfare Party of India aims at reforming Indian politics and realizing a welfare state based on moral values and governed by the principles of justice, freedom, equality and fraternity.
“To achieve this objective, the party will launch massive public campaigns and will awaken the socio-political public consciousness,” said Frooque, who is also general secretary of the JIH. “It will try to inculcate among the common people the self esteem, the self confidence and the ambition and courage to fight oppression and exploitation. It will try to promote able and virtuous leadership among masses and advance alternative politics in the country,” he added.
“We might be late in terms of our arrival on the political stage but we promise you that with our genuine and sincere efforts we will try to create an alternative political culture,” added Farooque.
“The criminalisation of politics, the communalisation of politics, the commercialisation of politics and the sectarianisation of politics are the biggest evils of our prevailing political culture. These evils have created such a rot in Indian body-politic that the people are disgusted with the whole class of politicians. This is a very dangerous situation and if unchecked, poses a serious threat to democracy,” Farooque lamented.
“It is the high time a new freedom fight is launched and a mighty social and public resistance is raised against these evils. This only will cleanse the Indian polity and revive the faith and trust of people in the democratic institutions,” he said.
Shedding light on the aims and objectives of the party, farooque said: “The party will try to promote an alternative politics in the country that is firmly rooted in high standards of morality and ethical values and that is free from crimes, corruption, selfishness and all kinds of narrow-minded prejudices. It will aim at the establishment of a welfare state. The party believes that sufficient nutritious food, decent clothing, proper shelter, essential healthcare and elementary education are among the fundamental human rights, and it is the duty of a welfare state to fulfil these basic needs of each of its citizens.
“The party envisages speedy growth in industry, trade, commerce and the national economy. But it shall try to reform the economy in a way as to ensure that the processes of development and wealth creation are properly regulated by the obligations of justice and equality,” he said.
Mujtaba Farooque has been elected as president of the party while Ilyas Kazmi, Father Abraham Joseph, Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, Dr Zafar-ul-Islam Khan and Lalitha Naik have been appointed as vice presidents.
Dr SQR Iliyas, Prof Sohail Ahmad Khan, Rama Panchal Khalida Perveen and PC Hamza have been selected as general secretaries and Prof Rama Surya Rao, Akhtar Husain Akhtar, Advocate Aamir Rasheed and Subramani have been given the responsibilities of secretaries.
Abdus Salam M has been appointed as the treasurer.