Ghulam Nabi Azad becomes catalyst in rift in Congress unit in J-K
- Ghulam Nabi Azad detractors and supporters in the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Committee accused each other of acting at the behest of the BJP.
A rift in the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress party came to the fore on Tuesday after a section of party workers burnt an effigy of Ghulam Nabi Azad and accused him of conspiring against the party at the behest of the BJP while another group came out in Azad’s support.
Barely a couple of days after the former Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being connected to his roots, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Shahnawaz Choudhary along with is supporters burnt Azad’s effigy and staged a protest against him.
Choudhary led a group of party workers who raised slogans against Azad 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 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 did not come to Jammu and Kashmir for the district development council election campaigning, but was here for the G-23 meet and praised the PM.
Few hours later District Congress Committee Jammu Urban’s general secretary Anil Kohli and JKPCC executive committee member Gourav Chopra staged another protest against Choudhary and in favour of Azad.
“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 a leader like Azad, who is synonymous with the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir and in the country. We can never tolerate this insult of Azad sahib.”
Their supporters raised slogans against Shahnawaz Choudhary and in favour of Azad.
“Azad is the tallest Congress leader in J&K and India. This man is not at all a Congressman because he fought DDC elections as an independent against party candidate Akram Choudhary. How can he tell Azad how to run the Congress? Youth Congress leaders like Aijaz Choudhary and Jitender Singh Chib besides Shahnawaz Choudhary should be immediately shown the door. They are playing into the hands of BJP and RSS. They are trying to cause a split in the Congress,” said Chopra.
Amid the rift in the party’s unit, JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmed Mir sought to play down Tuesday’s development.
“The Congress is a very big party and every individual analyses things as per his/her understanding. Choudhary is certainly the general secretary of the JKPCC, but in democracy everyone has the right to express his opinion or resentment,” he told HT.
A local English daily also quoted Mir as saying in Delhi that “What happened on Feb 27 (G-23 summit in Jammu) shouldn't have happened but there was still hope that Azad Sahab was speaking for J&K's people but he quashed all hopes on Feb 28 (Gurjar Desh Charitable programme) by praising PM. I'm here for routine meet, haven't spoken to party high command about Azad Sahab yet”.
On Sunday, Azad had asked the audience to learn from PM Modi about how to remain grounded to one's roots.
Azad’s comments had come a day after G-23 leaders addreed a well-attended public rally here.