Former Dy CM among 64 Cong leaders resign in support of Azad
Jammu: The spate of resignations in the Jammu and Kashmir Congress continued unabated with 64 more leaders including a former deputy chief minister tendering their resignation and joining the Ghulam Nabi Azad camp on Tuesday, leaving the unit of the national party in the Union Territory in tatters.
Led by former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, the leaders in their joint resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi said “all of us had a very long association with the party spanning over decades…but unfortunately we found that the treatment meted out to us was humiliating.”
Putting up a brave face, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani, once a close ally of Azad, lashed out at the defectors and said only cowards run away during difficult times.
“Those who are loyal to Azad will leave the party but there are thousands who are loyal to congress and they will stay in the party. Leaving of some people will not matter much to the party and their departure will not be any major loss to the Congress,” Wani said.
Azad, 73, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, ended his five-decade association with the Congress on Friday, terming the party “comprehensively destroyed” and lashing out at Rahul Gandhi for “demolishing” its entire consultative mechanism.
Since his resignation, a number of prominent leaders have joined Azad, including a former member of parliament, a deputy chief minister, 15 former legislators including seven former ministers, besides a large number of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, municipal corporators and grass-root level workers from across Jammu and Kashmir.
Chand, along with others including former ministers Abdul Majid Wani, Manohar Lal Sharma, Gharu Ram and former MLA Balwan Singh, announced their resignations from the Congress at a press conference here on Tuesday.
“Owing to the circumstances and the leadership crisis in Congress party, where a coterie surrounding party high command is calling shots in the most irresponsible manner and ruining the party.
“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,” Balwan Singh said, reading out from the joint resignation letter signed by 64 Congress men and senior functionaries from across the Jammu province.
The letter further said “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 too.”
Azad will soon launch a national-level party from Jammu and Kashmir.
Claiming that Jammu and Kashmir is facing an unprecedented crisis in the absence of an elected government, Balwan Singh said Azad’s decision to launch a national-level party from here will inspires hope and new determination to set things right once and for all.
“We are confident that J-K will be able to get statehood back after a gap of three years under the leadership of Azad. He is the sole and most powerful voice for the statehood of J-K and early elections,” he said.
Wani played down the chain of resignations in the party and said “cowards” run away during difficult times as the J-K Congress held a show of strength rally in the city.
He said the new leadership will strive hard to make the Congress “number one” party in the Union territory.
Wani, the newly appointed JKPCC chief, arrived here, with party leaders and workers lining up on both sides of the road to welcome him. He was accompanied by AICC in-charge for J-K and MP Rajani Patil.
“We will fight the BJP as well as those selfish people who have left the party. We will make the party number one in Jammu and Kashmir,” Wani told reporters.
Dubbing those who left the Congress as “loyalists of Azad”, he said only cowards run away during difficult times.
“Those who are loyal to Azad will leave the party but there are thousands who are loyal to congress and they will stay in the party,” he said. Wani said the leaving of some people will not matter much to the party.
The JKPCC chief was received by working president Raman Bhalla and former minister Yogesh Sawhney amid pro-Congress and Pro-Rahul Gandhi slogans. The Congress cavalcade of vehicles and motorcycles then moved into the city.
Amid drum beating, Congress workers lined up on two sides of the road and showered flowers upon the newly announced leadership of the J-K Congress.
“Those interested to leave the party and want to go with Azad can leave.The party only wants loyalists who stand with the ideology of the party and its leadership,” Bhalla said.
Pointing towards the huge number of Congress activists, he said, “This is the proof of loyalty. We don’t want disloyal and selfish people who after enjoying power for years leave the party in its difficult times.”