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Allah Ditta: I’m happy to walk away from committees
But the former city mayor told the Worcester News that he is set to quit two council committees after hitting out at what he calls “a political vendetta” to oust him.
As we reported yesterday, Coun Ditta has been left fighting for his political career after being hit with the motion, which calls upon him to “resign immediately” as vice-chairman of Worcester’s audit committee and as chairman of the Hopmarket sub-committee.
Coun Ditta was secretly recorded threatening to dig up a dead man’s body at the city’s private Muslim cemetery – an incident described as “deplorable” during Tues-day night’s council meeting.
Conservative Coun Ditta said: “The Labour group have got a vendetta against me, but I will not let them win. It’s not up to Labour to get me off the council, it’s the public who will ultimately decide, nobody else.
“This recording has been used against me for political reasons and I’m sad it has come to this.
“Losing the motion means I’ve got less work to do, I’m happy to walk away from those two committees.
"But only the residents will decide if I can be a councillor. I don’t have to answer to Labour.”
He has also claimed the family at the centre of the dispute have been egged on by a former Labour city councillor, Nazrul Islam.
Coun Ditta was backed by the entire Conservative group during a vote on the motion, but the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Labour all teamed up to secure a 17-16 victory.
He will still remain a Tory councillor for the Cathedral ward. The Tories have refused to kick him out on the insistence the graveyard dispute was a private matter.
Coun Ditta does voluntary work at the Muslim cemetery. He was embroiled in a dispute with Ruhal Hussain, the son of Monuhor Ali, who is buried there.
Coun Paul Denham, Labour group deputy leader, said: “The Tory councillors did themselves no favours by taking this stance – it’s a case of ‘keep him in at all costs’.”
The Tory leadership said it does “not condone” Coun Ditta’s threats but has insisted he was acting in a personal capacity.
A formal complaint has also been rejected on the basis he was not on official council business at the time.Coun Simon Geraghty, the leader, said Coun Ditta has “apologised several times” and that “a line should be drawn under it”.