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Azad| The Game Changer

Post article 370 abrogation on August 5, 2019, the political equations in Jammu Kashmir are changing fast. New Delhi is testing new waters at every possible point. The Shah Faisal’s Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement, a massive political project failed miserably. Azad is a second such project though it is handled by one of the top political stalwarts of Country.

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The beginning of the New Year for Democratic Azad Party was quite disappointing. It lost 17 crucial members back to Congress who regretted their decision of joining Azad led newly formed political Party.

“It was a blunder to join the DAP. We got misled by some people,” said Tara Chand, former deputy chief minister.

He said they had a long association with Ghulam Nabi Azad and when he asked them to join his new party, they could not resist and that was the mistake,” Chand added.

Chand along with other top senior political leaders were received back warmly by Congress central leadership at Delhi.

He was flanked by his other colleagues including Peerzada Muhammad Sayed who was appointed as vice chairman of DAP.

Sayeed too admitted to his mistake of joining Azad and deserting Congress.

And he termed his departure from Congress as a ‘long leave’.

Azad on the other hand downplayed the departure of his former colleagues and said he had rehabilitated them with top positions in his party. He said all they had no constituency to contest elections after fresh delimitation.

“I wish them good luck since they have been my colleagues for a long time,” Azad responded to the media queries. “They could not digest the respect I offered them. What can I do”.

The deserted group of leaders, however, has a different opinion for ditching Azad.

Azad’s entry into regional politics, one of the leaders said, is aimed to benefit BJP to divide secular votes.

“You can see from his rallies and political statements. He is working to divide the secular votes in Chenab Valley,” said a leader.

“But we need to unite to encourage the secular forces in the country.”

The leaders who made their Ghar Wapsi in Congress think Azad after elections most likely to support the BJP in Jammu Kashmir and its presence in Jammu Kashmir will have benefit for BJP.

Statistically speaking, BJP is enjoying popular support in Jammu division barring few places. It is likely to bounce back with strong numbers though it is unlikely in the Kashmir division. In Kashmir National Conference and PDP may have good numbers but the two new entrants Apni Party and Sajjad Gani Lone led People’s Conference may eat out some seats? This will put the two main parties in an uncomfortable position and may lose their claim to form the government. The things may get worse for both again if Azad’s DAP secures four to five seats in Chenab valley, all those seats may come from the secular vote bank. BJP on the other side may continue to remain on the higher side.

It is most likely BJP may claim the numbers and take these small parties on board to form the government.

Apni Party, Sajjad’s PC and Azad may have thin choices except BJP after the elections.

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari have already hinted to join the BJP government if such possibility arises after elections.

The more prospects for BJP can grow if NC and PDP decide to fight elections separately.  

This is all to be seen in the upcoming elections which are not in sight so far.

Post article 370 abrogation on August 5, 2019, the political equations in Jammu Kashmir are changing fast. New Delhi is testing new waters at every possible point. The Shah Faisal’s Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement, a massive political project failed miserably. Azad is a second such project though it is handled by one of the top political stalwarts of Country.

Azad may not carve out a big space but its presence certainly will create ripples.

For the local political parties he is worth fighting back but ignoring him and his presence in Jammu and Kashmir politics may never allow a comfortable journey for other secular parties. The Congress in particular may continue to face the discomfort by his presence.

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