Ahead of Possible J&K Elections Early Next Year, Congress Faces Major Setback
Around two dozen ‘Azad loyalists’ have resigned from the party saying ‘unscrupulous elements’ have hijacked the party.
SRINAGAR — Over two dozen Congress members in Jammu and Kashmir, considered close to former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and former leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, have tendered resignation to the party high command in New Delhi alluding to it the functioning of the party in the Union Territory. The development has come at a critical time as elections in Jammu and Kashmir are tipped to be held early next year in Jammu and Kashmir.
Prominent among the members include former state ministers G M Saroori, Vikar Rasool and Dr Manohar Lal Sharma, besides Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Monga, Naresh Gupta, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Subash Gupta (all former legislators), Pradesh Congress vice-president Anwar Bhat and member of Kulgam District Development Council and former district president, Anyatullah Rather.
Congress’ Budgam district president Zahid Hassan Jan, former political advisor to CM Manzoor Ahmed Ganai, AICC member Engineer Maroof, vice-chairman of the party’s ST Cell Chowdhary Sohat Ali, Corporator Gaurav Chopra, district general-secretary Ashwani Sharma are also among those who have resigned.
The development is being seen as a major setback to the Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir. The members are demanding a change in the party leadership in the Union Territory. Currently, former Jammu and Kashmir minister, Ghulam Ahmad Mir holds the charge of Congress in the UT.
Azad, who is also a signatory of the resignation letter, is on a tour of the Jammu division. For the past 48 hours, Azad has drawn huge crowds at Dyala Chak in Kathua, Thatri Inderwal, Jammu, and Banihal despite the party cadre’s knowledge that he is a member of the rebel group.
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In the resignation letter addressed to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Rajni Patil, in-charge secretary for J&K, the leaders have alleged that under the presidentship of Mir, Congress is heading towards a disaster and till today, more than 200 senior Congress leaders, including former ministers, MLAs, MLCs, PCC office bearers, district presidents and AICC members have resigned from the Congress and joined other parties, while some others have chosen to remain silent.
Monga told Mountain Ink that around two dozen leaders have sent a letter to the high command listing their reservations. “I have also resigned from my party post. There are more than 20 signatures in the letter. So far there has been no response from the party high command.”
During a recent rejig in the party, the rebel leaders alleged that senior leaders and former MLAs and MLCs were not consulted before the distribution of the party posts. The rebel Congress members said that “unscrupulous” elements have hijacked the functioning of the party in Jammu and Kashmir.
The congress party high command has so far maintained a silence on the issue. State Congress chief GA Mir told Mountain Ink that he has no knowledge about the letter. “It is just a publicity stunt,” he said.
Anshul Avijit, a national spokesperson of the Congress party told Mountain Ink that the Congress party has the best interests of all party members, both at the national and state level. “I would not like to add to anything that has already been said.”
The latest revolt in J&K Congress has added to the woes of the party high command even as elections in key Indian states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are slated to be held next year. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir are also tipped to be held early next year.
The move has also fuelled the rumours that, ahead of the assembly elections, a new political platform is being carved out in Jammu and Kashmir, led by Azad.
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Meher Qadri is a former staff writer at the Mountain Ink.