Rift in J&K Cong: Group protests against Azad, another supports him
All is not well in the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee as one faction has raised a banner of revolt against senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for praising the Prime Minister, while two other members — Gourav Chopra and Anil Kohli — on Tuesday extended support to the former Rajya Sabha MP.
Led by JKPCC general secretary Shahnawaz Choudhary, party workers earlier in the day burnt Azad’s effigy and staged a protest against him outside the Jammu Press Club, while those from the Youth Congress and the NSUI sought his removal from the party.
Choudhary accused Azad of weakening the Congress and acting at the behest of PM Narendra Modi.
“While the Congress held him in high esteem, made him a member of the Rajya Sabha and chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he heaped praise on the PM and forged friendship with the BJP,” he said.
He regretted that Azad didn’t come to J&K for the district development council election campaigning, but was here for G-23 summit and praised PM Modi.
However, few hours later, general secretary of the Jammu District Congress Committee (Urban) Kohli and JKPCC executive committee member Chopra staged another protest against Choudhary.
“Shahnawaz Choudhary is the same person, who fought against party candidate Akram Choudhary as an independent candidate in the DDC polls and won. How could he be a member of the party?” asked Chopra.
Kohli said, “This man has tried to malign the image of a leader like Azad, whose name is synonymous with the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir and in the country. We can never tolerate this insult of Azad sahib.”
“Youth Congress leaders like Aijaz Choudhary and Jitender Singh Chib, along with Shahnawaz Choudhary, should be immediately shown the door. They are playing into the hands of the BJP and the RSS. They are trying to split the Congress,” Chopra claimed.
JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, meanwhile, said, “The Congress is a very big party and every individual analyses things as per his/her understanding. He is certainly general secretary of the JKPCC, but in democracy everyone has the right to express opinion or resentment.”
It’s pertinent to mention here that a local English daily has quoted Mir as saying in Delhi that “what happened on February 27 (G-23 summit in Jammu) shouldn’t have happened. There was still some hope that Azad Sahib was speaking for J&K’s people, but he quashed all hopes on February 28 by praising the PM. I’m here for a routine meeting and haven’t spoken to the party high command about Azad sahib yet”.
On Sunday, Azad had asked the audience to learn from PM Modi about how one remains grounded to his roots.
Azad’s comments had come a day after G-23 leaders held a well-attended public rally here.
On February 9, the PM had given an emotional farewell speech to Azad when the latter had retired from the Rajya Sabha.
“I (will) not let you retire, I will continue taking your advice. My doors are always open for you,” Modi had said.
Addressing a function of Gujjar community here on Sunday, Azad had said, “Our PM also says that he is from village and was nothing (non-entity) and that he washed utensils and sold tea. Politically, we may have serious differences and are opposed to him but he didn’t hide his true self. And, those who hide their true selves, they live in a bubble… in an imaginary world. People should be proud of their roots.”