“Azad is as much popular among Hindus as he is among Muslims and also equally popular among people of Kashmir as well as Jammu”
Giving discreet signals to the party high command in New Delhi of his intended ‘show of power’ by organizing frequent rallies and public meetings, former Chief Minister and senior leader of Indian National Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad has made it all apparent that he will not shy away to ‘change the loyalties’, if party high command did not mend its ways, experts believe.
According to political experts, ignoring any move of Azad could be ‘disastrous’ for the Indian National Congress, especially at a time when threads within the party are already ripping off.
“In the past couple of days, Ghulam Nabi Azad has organized marathon public rallies and meetings to mobilize his support,” said experts, adding that he has also deliberated upon an idea of floating his own party, but due to negative feedback during public meetings at Inderwal, Kokernag and Banihal, he has almost dropped the idea.
Political experts also revealed that in the recent past Azad has convened a couple of meetings with the head of different political parties, including BJP and TMC.
“Although, my observations are clear that Azad will not join Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), owing to his strong Muslim support base. However, his meeting with TMC leadership and other political heads can be a matter to contemplate for the party High Command, who cannot condone it,” said experts, adding that if INC continues to overlook such demeanor of Azad, they will certainly lose a political stalwart from Jammu and Kashmir.
Experts believe that when followers of Azad wish to see him as a Chief Minister face for Jammu and Kashmir, INC is endorsing Ghulam Ahmed Mir.
“GA Mir is believed to be close to Rahul Gandhi, so he is reluctant to replace him as JKPCC Chief,” said experts, adding that any recommendations in this regard have been so far ignored by Rahul Gandhi.
Political experts further shared that Azad has a huge fan following in both the provinces of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of religion.
“Azad is as much popular among Hindus as he is among Muslims and also equally popular among people of Kashmir as well as Jammu,” said experts, adding that Mir has not yet achieved that affection in Jammu.
Hinting on the intentions of Ghulam Nabi Azad, political experts stated that recently Azad retorted that he does not see Congress winning 300 seats in the Parliamentary elections of 2024.
“Speaking at a gathering in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said that the Congress has to come to power with 300-plus seats but he does not see that happening,” said experts quoting Azad, adding that the statement came at a time when the Congress is facing a serious crisis of inner tussles besides a lot of leaders jumping ship in search of greener pastures. The party is also struggling to stitch a united Opposition during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
Pertinent to mention that Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of Congress’s G23 group of ‘dissenters’, was dropped from the party’s disciplinary action committee after president Sonia Gandhi reconstituted the panel.
“At least 20 Jammu and Kashmir Congress leaders considered close to Azad resigned from their party positions to press for a leadership change in the Union Territory,” said political experts, adding that the leaders had said only Azad is acceptable to them as the party’s face in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the chief ministerial candidate, not state Congress chief Gulam Ahmed Mir.