Jammu and Kashmir Congress leaders term Wani’s appointment as state party chief unfortunate

Published on Aug 18, 2022 03:27 AM IST

A day after Congress appointed former two-time legislator Vikar Rasool Wani its Jammu and Kashmir chief, there is indignation within the party as many leaders have termed the decision unfortunate.

The Congress on Tuesday appointed Vikar Rasool Wani as its Jammu and Kashmir chief and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad the head of the campaign committee. However, Azad who is the senior-most member of the party, refused to be a part of the campaign committee. (HT File Photo)
The Congress on Tuesday appointed Vikar Rasool Wani as its Jammu and Kashmir chief and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad the head of the campaign committee. However, Azad who is the senior-most member of the party, refused to be a part of the campaign committee. (HT File Photo)
ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar

A day after Congress appointed former two-time legislator Vikar Rasool Wani its J&K chief, there is indignation within the party as many leaders have termed the decision unfortunate.

The Congress on Tuesday appointed Wani as its Jammu and Kashmir chief and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad the head of the campaign committee. However, Azad who is the senior-most member of the party, refused to be a part of the campaign committee.

Sources in the party said Azad isn’t happy with the decision about appointments made by the party high command.

“Azad was taken on board in the appointment of new president and other heads of the committees and now he has declined it means somewhere something has gone wrong,” a senior party leader said. Another leader who is close to Azad said that the party high command will pacify the former chief minister. “The new president is considered close to Azad. Maybe he had pressure from friends and Doda-based leaders why former cabinet minister GM Saroori, who is also Azad loyalist and senior to Rasool, wasn’t considered for the post,” he said, adding that after GM Saroori will return from Warvan Valley things will get clear. “If the party fails to pacify Azad and other leaders, things could become difficult for the party in coming elections,” he said.

Former J&KPCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that whatever the decision party has taken is acceptable to leadership. “For us the united Congress is the only way to move forward. We will face problems if we start questioning party high command.”

However, former two-time legislator from Sopore Abdul Rashid Dar said that he has resigned from basic membership of the party. “We have given suggestions to the party high command which were completely ignored. So, it’s better to leave the party,” he said.

Dar isn’t alone. Sources in the party said that at least six more leaders are unhappy with the decision. “This isn’t the first-time leaders have resigned. I hope the leaders who are unhappy or have threatened to resign will be pacified by party leadership,” former legislator and former vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga said.

While former Union minister Azad, who also served as J&K chief minister during the PDP-Congress coalition government from 2005 to 2008, was appointed as head the party’s political affairs committee with former MP Tariq Karra as its vice-chairperson. Congress’ working president Raman Bhalla was appointed as the vice-chairperson of the campaign committee, a communication said.

Former JKPCC president Mir had resigned from his post in June. The party had held a series of meetings with the senior leaders in New Delhi to finalise the new team for J&K. Congress sources said that Mir, who remained the president of the J&K Congress since 2015, was asked to quit to pave way for the new organisational set-up.

Wani, 46, was considered close and loyal to Azad, who holds sway in both the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. Wani had also served as the minister of state.

Recently, the Congress had appointed senior leader Raman Bhalla from Jammu as its working president to keep a balance of power between the two regions of the UT.

However, party leaders had suggested the high command that the new leader should be a consensus candidate, who will be acceptable to all the leaders and should have a clean image.

Earlier, the party high command had offered Azad the post of JKPCC president which he declined.

Party leaders said in the new team of office-bearers, the high command had tried to maintain balance between various factions and regions. However, many leaders are surprised over Azad refusing to take any role. “Till last week, Vikar was considered closest leader to Azad. We don’t know why Azad is unhappy with this decision,” said a senior party leader.

Even former JKPCC president Saifudin Soz has been appointed as the head of manifesto committee. All senior leaders of the party from both Jammu and Kashmir have been accommodated in the new team.

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