Breaking: Ghulam Nabi Azad meets J&K leaders; set to float national party


Several political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday met former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is planning to launch a new national party, a day after tendering resignations from all posts of his erstwhile party.

“MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir are here (in Delhi). A few more – some senior leaders and ex-ministers – will come in the evening. Azad Sa’ab said a national party will be formed, we’ll begin from J&K and the upcoming poll will be fought strongly. Don’t want to reply to comments, we’ll reply with a victory,” said ex-Congress leader Salman Nizami.

The meeting came within 24 hours of Azad’s resignation from all posts in Congress. Elections in the valley are likely to be held later this year.

Reactions from numerous political leaders poured in after the sudden resignation.

Lawyer-turned-politician Jaiveer Shergill slammed the Congress party for its ‘coterie culture’. Shergill had recently resigned as Congress spokesperson. “Now a senior leader is speaking about it becoming a club of PAs and security guards and it shows that leaders across age groups are frustrated and disappointed by this entire coterie culture that is thriving in the Congress,” Shergill told news agency ANI.

He also slammed the upcoming Bharat Jodo Yatra by Congress and said, “Bharat Jodo is a PR gimmick. In reality, this cabal is working within Congress on ‘Congress Todo Abhiyan’, elbowing out all the well-meaning leaders. This letter speaks loudly of sentiments of thousands of well-meaning Congress workers who are troubled by this ‘Darbari’ culture.”

Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Friday took a dig at Azad for his allegations against Congress interim president Rahul Gandhi. “No one expected he would write such a letter,” Gehlot said. “He has been my friend for 42 years. I am deeply hurt, and I have no words to express what I feel about his resignation. The party gave him enough opportunities, be it Indira Gandhi or Sanjay Gandhi. He served at many positions in the party; in Madhya Pradesh or in Maharashtra, and was made a Rajya Sabha member at least five times.”

The latest high-profile exit from Congress comes soon after elections for Congress president were deferred. Azad’s resignation follows a series of exits of senior leaders from the party, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jaiveer Shergil, and Jitin Prasada, amongst others.