Jammu, Aug 30: Following the resignation from grand old Congress party and decision to launch a new political party, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will address mega public rally in Jammu on September 4, while leaders continue to join him for fourth consecutive day.
Azad will arrive in Jammu on September 4 and straightway address a large public gathering at Sainik Farms in Jammu outskirts to hold direct communication with his supporters.
Sources said that several thousand people are expected to join Azad as the venues carrying capacity is more than 15000 people.
Meanwhile, over 64 senior Congress leaders, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand and former ministers Abdul Majeed Wani and Manohar Lal Sharma, Gharu Ram and former MLA Balwan Singh, announced their resignations from the Congress in support of Ghulam Nabi Azad at a press conference.
The Congress leaders including dozens of former MLAs and MLCs submitted their joint resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Former deputy chief minister Tara Chand said that the Azad-led party would try to bring secular parties on a single platform for restoration of the statehood and the rights under Article 370.
“The new party led by Azad will try to bring secular-minded regional parties, from both Jammu and Kashmir regions, under a single platform. We will try to work out a strong front to provide good governance to the people, work for the restoration of statehood and the rights which were guaranteed under Article 370, Chand, an Azad loyalist, told reporters here.
The Centre had on August 5, 2019 revoked the special status under Article 370 to J-K and bifurcated it into Union territories.
“The issue of Article 370 is before the Supreme Court which will decide about it. However, when our government is formed, we will fight for the restoration of all the rights guaranteed under the Constitution provision, Chand said, expressing confidence that the Azad-led party will also form the government at the Centre by having alliance with regional parties in different states of the country.
Asked whether the party is also open to having an alliance with the BJP, he said, “There is no question of that. We were in a secular party (Congress) which we left. The party we are forming under the leadership of Azad will be a secular one and we will have an alliance only with secular parties and not with BJP.”
He dismissed the allegations that they are the A, B or C team of the BJP and said Azad is a secular leader and we had nothing to do with the BJP. Azad had himself clarified it several times”.
Defending the decision to resign from the Congress, Chand said they were forced to take such a decision as the party ignored them over the past several years and did not pay any heed to their protests by way of boycotting the meetings.
Chand said they requested Azad to come out of the Congress as his two-and-a-half-year rule from 2005 to 2008 was a “golden era”, which people remember and miss immensely.
“People of J-K need the services of an experienced politician and a stalwart like him. He accepted our demand and resigned from the Congress after all our attempts to improve the health of the party failed, he said.
Expressing confidence that more senior leaders will strengthen the hands of Azad in the coming days, he said leaders from various parties are also in touch with them and you will see more and more joinings in the coming weeks”.
Azad, 73, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, ended his five-decade association with the Congress on Friday, terming the party comprehensively destroyed and lashing out at Rahul Gandhi for demolishing its entire consultative mechanism.
Some G23 leaders meet Azad
Senior Congress leaders and members of G-23 Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Anand Sharma and Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday met Ghulam Nabi Azad at his residence, days after the leader from Jammu and Kashmir resigned from the party after blaming the leadership.
Sharma, Hooda and Chavan held discussions at Azad’s residence and are learnt to have discussed the future strategy of the G-23.
The Congress leaders are learnt to have also discussed the organisational elections, including that of the Congress president, amid reports that Shashi Tharoor, who is a member of the group, is considering contesting the election for the top party post.
The G-23 had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 demanding an organisational overhaul and elections at all levels of the party. The G-23 had also been critical of certain decisions of the party leadership.
Tuesday’s meeting comes days after Azad resigned from the Congress and announced that he will float his own outfit in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of assembly elections there.kno