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IN Exclusive: Azad to float a new party on Sunday, anticipating J&K polls in December

Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Chief Minister of J&K who severed his 50-year-long relationship with Congress is all set to launch a new political party on Sunday (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is launching a new political party on Sunday after severing his 50-year-long relationship with the Congress on 26 August, is expecting the first Assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in December 2022. On Sunday, he is scheduled to float his new party with the beginning of a 13-day-long tour to the UT.

“For now I am fully concentrating on Jammu and Kashmir as I am expecting the Assembly elections there in the month of December this year. I am planning to float a new national level party with my colleague all across the country. But, for now, because of the impending elections, we are going to set up the party’s only unit in Jammu and Kashmir”, Azad revealed to INDIA NARRATIVE.

The 73-year-old politician from Bhalesa Bhaderwah area of Jammu’s Doda district said that he would be flying to the city of temples in the morning on Sunday. After a reception at the Jammu Airport, he is scheduled to address his first independent rally at Sainik Farm on the outskirts of Jammu. His associates in the UT are expecting a crowd of 10,000 people to attend Azad’s rally.

Over a dozen of Azad’s senior political colleagues, including Tara Chand, Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, RS Chib, Choudhary Akram, Balwan Singh and Gharu Ram are also expected to address the rally.

Azad disclosed that in addition to Jammu, he would hold rallies in most of the districts in Chenab and Pir Panjal valleys besides several districts in Kashmir. “From Kishtwar, I will be entering Kashmir through Sinthan. We are organising a massive outreach to the people”, Azad asserted. The strong Congress bastion of Kokernag-Shangas-Dooru-Devsar falls on and around the same route. Of the four bigwigs, former J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President Ghulam Ahmad Mir has retained his association with the Congress but another former JKPCC President and ex-Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and ex-MLAs Gulzar Ahmad Wani and Mohammad Amin Bhat have resigned and supported Azad.

On 16 September, Azad is scheduled to return to New Delhi.

Azad said that until the moment he had not shortlisted any names for his new party. “We want to assume a title that should be attractive and acceptable to all the religions and regions in the country.

Earlier speaking as the chief guest at a book release function at the India International Centre, Azad said that communal harmony would sustain as the cornerstone of India’s body politic in spite of very serious challenges to the country’s ethos of pluralism. Alongwith the former J&K Governor, N.N.Vohra, Azad released the veteran broadcaster Pran Kishore’s new novel in English language “Moon of the Saffron Fields” written on Kashmir’s iconic poetess-princess Habba Khatoon. Its Kashmiri version, titled “Zoon Zafraan Zaaran Hinz” was also released on the occasion.

Azad said Kashmir’s composite culture and plural ethos, which suffered a big blow due to terrorism after 1989, was distinct in the whole country. “Kashmir is the only region where Hindus converted to Islam and adopted new Muslim names but they preserved and retained their Hindu surnames”, he said. He underscored the need to fight radicalism and communalism which he called as the bane of a composite culture.

Also Read: Ghulam Nabi Azad’s new party may become a nest for J&K’s  politicians