J&K Cong Discusses ‘Pro-People’ Agenda Ahead Of Azad’s Meet

Jammu- Amid a flurry of resignations by Congress leaders and workers in support of Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Thursday said its core philosophy and “pro-people agenda” cannot be weakened by “benefit seekers and promoters of cult politics”.

Referring to Azad’s exit from the Congress, they said the grand old party has always emerged stronger after the exit of modern-day “Jaichands and Mir Jaffars”.

Azad, 73, a former chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, ended his five-decade association with the Congress on August 26, terming the party “comprehensively destroyed” and lashing out at party leader Rahul Gandhi for “demolishing” its entire consultative mechanism.

Thursday’s meeting, chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Vikar Rasool Wani, comes ahead of Azad’s scheduled public address in the city on September 4.

“The meeting took stock of the party affairs and deliberated upon the measures to be taken to strengthen it at the grassroots,” a senior party leader said.

He said all those who participated in the meeting, including former unit president G A Mir, working president Raman Bhalla and Congress working committee member Tariq Hameed Karra, held a unanimous view that the Congress’ core philosophy and “pro-people agenda” cannot be weakened by “benefit seekers and promoters of cult politics”.

Since Azad’s resignation, over two dozen prominent leaders a former deputy chief minister, eight former ministers, a former MP, nine legislators and a large number of Panchayati Raj Institution members, municipal corporators and grassroots workers from across the Union territory have defected to his camp.

The Congress, however, has maintained that it has always emerged stronger after the exit of modern-day “Jaichands and Mir Jaffars”.

While Rajput ruler Jaichand is alleged to have betrayed his son-in-law Prithvi Raj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain against the invading Afghan forces, Mir Jafar, who was the army commander under Siraj ud-Daulah, is believed to have betrayed the Nawab of Bengal during the Battle of Plassey.

Told Azad To Avoid Saying Things That Create Bitterness Among Partymen: Hooda

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday said he and his colleagues in the Congress have suggested to former party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to avoid saying things that create bitterness among the partymen.

Talking to reporters here, Hooda said the “Group of 23” (G-23) members met Azad at his residence and asked him about his resignation from the party, which he had never discussed with them.

He said the G-23 had raised a demand for holding the organisational polls. Party chief Sonia Gandhi has agreed to it and the polls are now being held, he added.

Hooda also asserted that he is an old-time Congressman who had stood with the Gandhi family even when P V Narasimha Rao was the prime minister and will continue to do so.

“We told Azad that since he has decided to quit the party now after being in it for such a long time, he should not say things that create bitterness among the partymen,” the senior Congress leader told PTI.

“We had raised a demand for holding the organisational polls, which are now being held. The Congress president has agreed to our demand. Despite that Azad sahib decided to quit the party, but he had never discussed his resignation with us. We only asked him as to what happened that he had to take such a decision even after the demands were accepted,” Hooda told reporters.

The former chief minister said during their meeting with Azad, they told the latter that they have remained in the party for such a long time and there was no any animosity or ill-will between them.

“He never discussed it with us and we raised the matter with him,” he said, adding that sometimes things are said by leaders out of frustration and sometimes to serve their interests.

“When Narasimha Rao was the prime minister, no one stood with the Gandhi family, but I was with them at the time. I was with them then and I am still standing with the family,” Hooda said.

He also said the Congress rally on September 4 will be historic. “You will see that on September 4, there will be a big rally and people will come in huge numbers,” he said.

Hooda, along with other G-23 leaders Anand Sharma and Prithviraj Chavan, met Azad at the latter’s residence here on Monday, after the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister resigned from the Congress, blaming the party leadership, especially Rahul Gandhi, in a five-page letter on August 26.

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