Ghulam Nabi Azad
Ambitious, low profile and astute - these are qualities that sum up the personality of Congress spokesperson, Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Ambitious and astute -- these are qualities that sum up the personality of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Azad joined the Congress party in the 70s and contested elections from Doda in Jammu. Young and ambitious, Azad lost his deposit but learnt one of the most crucial lessons in politics, remaining close to centre of power. Since then, he has always built a rapport with all the power centres in Congress party, be it Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and finally Sonia Gandhi.
Azad is more of a silent operator. The recently concluded assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh and Congress's resounding victory is known to have been orchestrated by Azad.
Last year's assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir saw Congress do surprisingly well, winning 20 of the 87 assembly seats while Mufti Mohd Sayeed's PDP managed only 26 seats. Yet, at the behest of Congress high command, he let the PDP form the government in the J&K.
His proximity to power centre within Congress has always worked in his favour. Indira Gandhi rewarded him with a Minister of State portfolio. PV Narasimha Rao appointed him Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation. And now, he enjoys the confidence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.