Trouble in J&K Congress: 64 quit over Azad

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 Days after nearly one dozen senior leaders resigned from the Congress, 64 Jammu and Kashmir leaders from the party, including former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand also resigned in support of Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Speaking to reporters here, senior leader Balwan Singh flanked by Chand and a brigade of Congress leaders, said they resigned “owing to the circumstances and the leadership crisis in the Congress party, where a coterie surrounding party high command is calling shots in the most irresponsible manner and ruining the party”.

Reading out the joint resignation letter signed by 64 leaders and senior functionaries from across Jammu province, the former MLA also said, “All of us had a very long association with the party spanning over decades and devoted all our energy and resources towards expanding the party in Jammu and Kashmir, but unfortunately we found that the treatment meted out to us was humiliating.”

The letter added: “With our leader and mentor Ghulam Nabi Azad having resigned from the party on the issue listed by him in a letter to you (Sonia Gandhi), we believe that we should also come out of Congress to make some worthwhile contribution in building a positive political society where people are heard and responded to.”

Former Chief Minister and MP Azad quit the Congress after giving over five decades to the party at different positions.

Azad on Saturday claimed 95 per cent party workers, panchayat members and district development council members of the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir have joined him.

“In view of the prevailing situation, a strong leadership is needed as the Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir ‘failed’ to meet the expectations of the masses despite our efforts and attempts to revive it,” Tara Chand told reporters during an interaction.

He said, “After threadbare deliberations and discussions with our leader of stature (Azad), it was decided to launch a new party to give strong and visionary leadership to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“We are sure that a strong front will be formed under the leadership of Azad and people see a new ray of hope in the form of development and restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir,” said the former deputy chief minister.

Besides Chand, former ministers — Abdul Majid Wani, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma, Chaudhary Gharu Ram, senior leaders Ghulam Hyder Malik, Vinod Sharma, Vinod Mishra and Narinder Sharma among Azad loyalists quit the party in support of their leader.

Azad is visiting Jammu on September 4 to address a public gathering and to launch a national level party.

On August 27, G M Saroori, MLA Muhammad Amin Bhat, Jugal Kishore, Haji Rasheed, Chowdhary Mohd Akram, Gulzar Ahmed Wani (former MLAs), Naresh Gupta, R S Chib (former MLCs), Muneer Ahmed Mir from Lolab and Salman Nizami also resigned from the party.

The bickering in the Congress party started with the announcement of Viqar Rasool Wani as new JKPCC chief, on which several leaders expressed resentment.

Wani had said that he was committed to rejuvenating the party under the able leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who has been at the receiving end of Azad’s vitriol.

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