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Azad-Farooq bonhomie triggers ‘silent’ fissures in J&K Congress

Congress a united force, Azad visited as leader opposition: G A Mir, ‘Azad best person to reply why he didn’t visit detained Congress leaders in Kashmir’, says Prof Soz

KINS Desk

Srinagar, March 14 (KINS): Already grappling with the internal wrangling, Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress is all up in the arms as fresh fissures have started popping up in the wake of senior party leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad’s praise for National Conference patron Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

The Congress leaders believe that it was time to set own house in order first rather than “acting as a spokesman for other parties.”

According to Congress insiders, many leaders have left the party which includes former legislator Usman Majid and also the middle rung leaders including Dr. Syed Ahmed and a few others while as many senior party leaders are not even visiting the party headquarters in Srinagar and Jammu and preferring to stay home. “There is a simmering discontent brewing among the veteran Congress leaders. That is because the many efforts were made to apprise the party high command about the discontent and internal tensions brewing since past over a year, but high command never addressed the concerns as the real picture was never revealed to it by the veterans,” a party leader, who has been associated with the Congress since past three decades, told Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) over the phone.

 However talking to KINS, JKPCC chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir said that Congress is a strong force. “We will sit and evolve a strategy to strengthen the party base across J&K again,” he said.

Asked about Azad’s visit has left some Congress leaders unhappy, he said that since Azad is a leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, he must have visited Dr Farooq in that capacity. “We shouldn’t see politics in Azad,” he said. “I also congratulated Dr. Farooq for his release. I believe there is nothing wrong in doing so.”

Senior Congress leader and former PCC chief Prof Saifudin Soz told Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) that Congress has a role parallel to National Conference. “NC is a premier political party. We are strong in Jammu and should work in Kashmir also to strengthen the roots and areas afresh. Congress is a national party tasked to protect the Indian culture and centuries-old ethos,” he said.

To a query, why Azad didn’t visit the senior Congress men including those who are or were detained, he said Azad is the best person to answer the query. About the concerns of some Congress leaders, he said that it is the party leadership that has to take care of the concerns being expressed by the party men. “There may be some disgruntled leaders, whose concerns may be genuine. I believe they should be addressed on priority,” Soz said.

Senior Congress leader and former Minister Taj Mohiuddin said that differences in parties are a routine matter and everything will be set in order in the days ahead. “Many leaders were under house detention. We will sit and formulate a new strategy to infuse new energy into the party,” he said while downplaying the fissures.  About Usman Majeed and a few others, who left the party, he said: “People come and go, this is nothing new.”

All India Congress Committee member and Congress party’s youth leader, Abid Kashmiri told KINS that even though the party chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir is a dynamic leader and has taken series of steps to strengthen the party, many senior leaders preferred to enjoy photoshoots with the Congress leaders in New Delhi rather than appraising them about the party’s real position back home in Kashmir. “There is a discrepancy in the party as those who put their blood and sweat to keep Congress alive in Kashmir are being ignored and those who succeeded in maintaining a good rapport with the big-wigs, were promoted all of a sudden,” he said. “This shouldn’t have happened.”

The fresh fissures in the party were triggered by the Congress big-wig Azad’s sudden arrival at NC patron Dr. Farooq’s Gupkar residence, where he remained under house detention for over seven months. What has soured the Congress camp further is the praises showered by Azad on Dr. Farooq in a presser. “Visiting Dr. Farooq and wishing him well was good, but what was the need to shower praises on him and act as a NC spokesman,” a senior Congress leader questioned. “This has not gone down well within the Congress camp as it was a time when Congress leader (Azad) should have called an emergency meeting of Congress leaders in Srinagar to develop a strategy to strengthen the party on all fronts.”

He said that instead of visiting party office, Azad preferred to hug Dr. Farooq and shower praises on him which in a way is against the Congress party’s fundamental principles. It is pertinent to mention here that Congress party in J&K had always been a victim of internal bickerings as there were two lobbies—one favouring Prof Saifudin Soz and another siding with Azad. Though Soz preferred to stay away from the party in the past few years,but his loyalists continue to maintain the differences with Azad even though JKPCC chief Mir tried is best to iron out all differences in the past two years. (KINS)

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