SRINAGAR: Former high profile bureaucrat Khwaja Farooq Renzu Shah and fourteen others formally joined Congress party today.
PCC Chief Prof Saifudin Soz said membership of Renzu and others was accepted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday.
A list of some prominent people was forwarded to the Congress High Command long ago but the UPA chairperson has approved the names today only. This is an achievement for the Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir that people, including the prominent citizens are joining which reflects the popularity of the party, said Soz.
Soz said that very soon, the party will convene separate meetings in Srinagar and Jammu to welcome the new entrants. I am of the firm belief the new entrants will further strengthen the party in the state and very soon you will see hundreds of youth joining the party, Prof Soz said.
Renzu Shah, who has served government on various posts including as Director Information and Commissioner SMC, wields considerable clout among members of the Valleys dominant Barelvi sect.
Pertinently efforts were on by various political parties to rope in Renzu into their fold.
Last week chief minister Omar Abdullah, along with his close aides visited Renzu at his Ishber residence and were closeted with him for an hour.
However it appears they have been unable to change his mind.
It is a proud moment for me that honorable Sonia Gandhi has provided me a chance to work for strengthening of secular forces in Jammu and Kashmir. I am highly privileged that I in my humble capacity has been chosen to put my efforts to work for the betterment of the people, said Renzu in his initial reaction.
Others whose membership has been accepted by the Congress high command in Delhi are Mohammad Aslam Goni, Thakur Balbir Singh, Gurbachan Kour, Ghulam Hassan Gilani, Tassaduq Hussain, Shafiq Mir, Zahida Khan, Bashir Ahmad Shah, Ghulam Hassan Rather, Gulzar Ahmad, Tafazul Hussain, Murtaza Khan, Wali Mohammad and Najeeb Ali Shiekh.
Goni was a confidant of former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and treasurer of J&K Cricket Association. Abdullah is the patron of the association.
Goni was facing allegations of opening and operating bogus association bank accounts into which money received from the BCCI had been siphoned off.
He quit the Association following allegations of massive embezzlement.
Another entry into the Congress is Murtaza Khan, a former MLC from the PDP.
An election committee for Jammu and Kashmir with state president Saif-u-din Soz, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand, Shamlal Sharma, M Sharif Niyaz, B A Magray, Sham Paul, Khem Lata Wukhloo, Ravinder Sharma and M Aslam as its members has been formed by the Congress High Command in view of the forthcoming assembly and Parliamentary elections, KNS quoting sources said.
A coordination committee for the state has been formed comprising of Ambika Soni, Saif-u-Din Soz, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Abdul Manan, Tara Chand and Muzafar Parray etc.
At present, the Congress with 17 assembly seats is the number three party in the state. While the NC with 28 remains number one, the PDP is number two with 21 seats. However, the Congress has emerged as a kingmaker and has ruled the state in coalition with the PDP and the NC since 2002.
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