Former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s nephew, APJ M Haja Syed Ibrahim, has launched a new political party to put an end to the misuse of Kalam’s name.
Ibrahim told Hindustan Times he launched the Desiya Jananayaka Katchi (DJK) as the former president’s family was extremely upset over how some people were claiming his legacy and were misusing his name.
In February, Kalam’s family had expressed displeasure over his former scientific adviser V Ponraj launching a political party, Abdul Kalam Vision India Party, using the former president’s name and portrait. Ponraj had disregarded the protests from the family and said there was nothing wrong in using Kalam’s name and propagating his ideals.
“We would not use Dr Kalam’s name in any way to further our political interests,” 50-year-old Ibrahim said from Rameshwaram in south Tamil Nadu, where the Missile Man was born and brought up.
Ibrahim was the vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu unit’s minority wing and quit the party in November last year after the central government refused his request to turn Kalam’s residence in Delhi into a knowledge centre.
The BJP, he said, did not give even an iota of importance to any of his ideas or suggestions on education and youth affairs, two of the most endearing issues that Kalam wanted to be addressed.
Ibrahim, a civil works contractor and a consultant to several companies, said his objective was to achieve the goals that Kalam had set and to realise his dreams.
The party’s agenda is to ensure quality education to students, which was one of Kalam’s goals, as the current education system does not equip the youth to do something new and pursue scientific research, he said.
“I had visited Finland and Israel and have concrete ideas as to how to improve our education system,” Ibrahim said adding “but no one in the BJP paid any attention to my suggestions or ideas.”
“Which is why I quit the party to enter politics myself to do good to the people ... I did not want any post or seat from the BJP. I only wanted my suggestions to be considered,” Ibrahim said adding the saffron party was not willing to consider even that.
“The party would guide the students and focus on developing the education system and creating job opportunities,” Ibrahim, who also runs a restaurant, said during a function to unveil the party flag on Monday in Rameswaram.
The DJK, he said, would also concentrate on the health sector. Ibrahim hopes he would be able to succeed as there is a tremendous amount of traction amongst the youth, who are drawn to and inspired by Kalam.
Ibrahim said the DJK will field just five candidates in the ongoing assembly elections in the state.
“Since our party was launched only two days ago, we would not be able to contest all seats. We are in talks with two or three smaller parties and together would contest 122 seats,” he said.
While older members of the family are still waiting and watching, another grandson of Kalam, Sheik Saleem, told Hindustan Times he welcomed the new party but insisted it should not use Kalam’s name in any way to further its political interests.
Kalam was a strictly apolitical man, committed to spreading education, scientific temper and youth empowerment, Saleem said.