Former Congress politician Ghulam Nabi Azad is preparing to form his party, with the first unit likely to open in Jammu and Kashmir within a month, according to his close confidant GM Saroori.
According to Mr. Saroori, the party’s platform would include restoring Jammu and Kashmir to its pre-August 5, 2019 posture.
Mr. Saroori, a former minister who was one of many notable Congress figures in Jammu and Kashmir who quit the party’s total ranks in favor of Mr. Azad, said that their leader was fundamentally secular and that there was no chance that he would serve the BJP’s interests.
In addition, he said that hundreds of top Congress figures, members of the Panchayati Raj Institution, and well-known employees had submitted their resignations after the former chief minister’s break with the national party after more than five decades of service.
According to Mr. Saroori, a former vice-president of the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of the Congress, “Azad is going to Jammu on September 4 to undertake talks with his well-wishers before the establishment of our new party,” he told Press Trust of India.
Friday, shortly after announcing his resignation, Mr. Azad said he would soon start a new political party, with its first branch established in Jammu and Kashmir.
Azad, who is from the Bhaderwah township of the Doda district, had told Press Trust of India on Friday night, “I am not in a rush as of now to start a national party but bearing in mind that elections are going to be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir, I have decided to form a unit there shortly.”
The senior politician would “announce the creation of the party within the next week,” according to Mr. Saroori, who met with Mr. Azad in New Delhi on Friday to offer their support.
“We welcome his return to Jammu & Kashmir, where he previously held the position of Chief Minister (from November 2, 2005, to July 11, 2008). People want him back because they think his reign was a “golden age,” and they want Jammu and Kashmir removed from the current predicament. “He added that Jammu and Kashmir are home to most of his supporters.
Mr. Saroori said that the new party would work to restore the pre-August 5, 2019 status and emphasize growth and unity among all facets of society.
On August 5, 2019, the Center divided the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories and removed the special status granted to it under Article 370 of the Constitution.
With Mr. Azad’s departure, according to Mr. Saroori, the Congress’s time in Jammu and Kashmir is virtually over.
“Leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are making a beeline for Ghulam Nabi Azad to offer their support. Numerous municipal corporators, members of district and block development councils, and other PRI members have submitted hundreds of letters of resignation to us “said he.
In support of Mr. Azad, more than a dozen figures, including several former ministers and lawmakers, resigned from the Congress’ basic membership, and many more, including the former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, is poised to do the same after meeting with Mr. Azad in New Delhi today.
In response to the Congress’ accusation that Azad had “collaborated” with the BJP after his departure, Mr. Saroori said that those who had criticized Azad were either blind to the truth or were discovering that the ground was eroding under their feet.
“Over the last 50 years, he has strived to build the Congress as a secular leader. Even if we have all sacrificed our blood and sweat, how can you continue to be a part of a gathering that denigrates and degrades you? “He questioned, accusing the leadership of the Congress of pressuring them into making such a choice.