Gujarat seat vacant, elections on March 1; party tight lipped
Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad may or may not return to J&K politics as his term in Rajya Sabha ended today.
According to the media reports Azad is hopeful that the party will nominate him again from Rajya Sabha from Gujarat RS seat which had fallen vacant after the death of the party stalwart Ahmed Patel. The elections for that seat are slated to be held on March 1.
It’s in place to mention here that Azad and twenty other senior Congress leaders were stripped of their party posts last year after they wrote a letter seeking change in the party’s leadership.
“Since that day Azad’s future has been uncertain as the party sidelined him. Azad didn’t take any part in the recently held district development council elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Neither did the party give him any role,” said an analyst.
He said, “Now, Azad’s term in Rajaya Sabha has ended. If the Congress high command nominates him from Gujarat it would mean that party wants to retain him and he may get a bigger role in future. If the party ignores him then Azad will have to think about his future course of action.”
There are reports that Azad is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir in coming days so that he can talk to his loyalists and see for himself whether he can find a role in local politics as J&K has turned into a union territory and it appears that it will continue to function as UT till the Centre is satisfied.
An observer said, “A politician of Azad’s stature may not find it easy to fit himself in J&K politics anymore as political scene has changed completely after August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.”
He said, “Azad needs to reconcile with his party high command and look for a role in national politics. He should take a cue from Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have announced that they won’t contest the assembly elections. These leaders have served as chief ministers in the past and they are aware of the fact that in a union territory chief minister and other ministers are not that powerful as the power rests with the Centre.”
The observer said, “Road ahead for Azad is not that easy. He has to take a call after thinking about everything properly.”