Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad is preparing to launch his own party, with the first unit set to open in Jammu and Kashmir within a fortnight, according to his close confidant GM Saroori.
Mr Saroori stated that the party’s manifesto will include the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s pre-August 5, 2019 position.
Former minister Mr. Saroori claimed that Mr Azad was an ideological secularist and that there was no chance that he would serve the BJP’s interests by cooperating with them. Mr. Saroori was one of several prominent Jammu and Kashmiri Congress leaders who supported Mr. Azad by resigning from the party’s basic membership.
He also claimed that hundreds of senior Congress leaders, Panchayati Raj Institution members and prominent workers resigned after the former chief minister ended his more than five-decade association with the national party.
“Azad is coming to Jammu on September 4 to hold consultations with his well-wishers before the launch of our new party,” said Mr Saroori, a former vice-president of the Congress’ Jammu and Kashmir unit.
Mr Azad announced the formation of a new party and the establishment of its first unit in Jammu and Kashmir just hours after resigning on Friday.
“I am not in a hurry to launch a national party right now, but given that elections are likely to be held in Jammu and Kashmir, I have decided to launch a unit there soon,” Azad, who is from the Doda district’s Bhaderwah township, told Press Trust of India on Friday night.
Mr Saroori, who met with Mr Azad in New Delhi on Friday to express his support, stated that the veteran politician would “announce the launch of the party within the next fortnight.”
“We are delighted that he is returning to Jammu and Kashmir, where he previously served as Chief Minister (from November 2, 2005, to July 11, 2008). People regard his rule as a golden era and want him to return to save Jammu and Kashmir from the current situation “He went on to say that his supporters are spread throughout Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Saroori stated that the new party would prioritise development and unity among all segments of society, as well as the restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 position.
Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked by the Center on August 5, 2019, splitting the formerly single state into two Union territories.
With Mr Azad’s departure, Mr Saroori believes the Congress is almost finished in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are making a beeline for Ghulam Nabi Azad to express their support. We have received hundreds of resignation letters from PRI members, including members of district and block development councils and municipal corporators “He stated.
Referring to the Congress’s statement accusing Azad of “collaboration” with the BJP following his resignation, Mr Saroori said those who criticised him were either closing their eyes to ground realities or finding the earth beneath their feet slipping away.
“He is a secular leader who has worked for the past five decades to strengthen Congress. In fact, we’ve all given our blood and sweat, but how can you stay in a party that insults and humiliates you? “he inquired, blaming the leadership of Congress for forcing them to make such a decision.