Azad turning ‘rebel’ puts Congress in quandary in J&K    

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad raising a banner of revolt against the party high command has created multiple problems for the “grand old party” in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the media reports the party high command wants to avoid direct confrontation with Azad but to tighten the noose around him, his loyalists have been served notices. They have been asked to explain why they have not attended the party meetings and other functions that were held in the recent past.
Azad during his recent visit to Jammu had stirred the hornet’s nest by praising Prime Minister Narerndra Modi following which the Congress activists had staged a protest against him in the winter capital.
It’s in place to mention here that the Congress high command had stripped Azad and 22 other senior leaders of the party posts last year after they wrote a letter to the Congress high command seeking change in party leadership. Since that day the group of leaders ousted from the party posts is known as G-23 and Azad has emerged as the undisputed leader of the group.
Azad completed his Rajya Sabha term last month; despite Ahmed Patel’s seat being vacant in the upper house the Congress Party did not nominate Azad. “It was a clear signal that Azad and others don’t figure in the new scheme of things in the Congress Party,” said an observer.
He said that the G-23 leaders have been projecting Azad as an alternative to Rahul Gandhi and are trying to build a narrative that he only can save the Congress Party. “The Congress Party is on the crossroads and it needs to put its act together. It seems that the party has done a big blunder by sidelining the senior leaders,” he added.
“In Jammu and Kashmir also the Congress Party is finding itself in a difficult situation. Close aides of Azad have advised him to launch his own political party in the newly carved out union territory as most of them believe that J&K’s statehood will be restored sooner or later,” the observer said.
An analyst said, “The party which shared power in J&K for 12 consecutive years, first with the Peoples Democratic Party (from 2002 to 2008) and then with National Conference (from 2009 to 2014) is grappling with number of issues today and it appears that it has lost the footing in the region.”

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