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Ghulam Nabi launches Democratic Azad Party as secular force in J&K    

Ghulam Nabi Azad has named his new outfit as 'Democratic Azad Party' (Image courtesy: Twitter/@ghulamnazad)

Exactly a month after severing his 50-year-long relationship with the Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday named his new outfit as ‘Democratic Azad Party’ and unfolded it’s flag with three vertical stripes in blue, white and yellow.

Addressing a crowded press conference in Jammu, the 73-year-old politician said that the thought process of his rank and file would be “purely democratic and secular” with no scope either for an autocratic or communal mindset. “Politics and religion will be poles apart here”, he asserted.

“We believe in total equality between Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. And this will be reflected in our party’s constitution”, Azad said and referred to Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote of the “ray of light” in Kashmir.

He said that his party would fight against the radical mindset promoted by separatists like Geelani.

In a significant announcement, Azad said that at least 50 percent of the positions in his party would be reserved for the youth and the women.

“Our party will be completely democratic. There will be no autocracy, no power in just one hand. Everybody will be free in a true democratic setting”, Azad said with an apparent reference to the Gandhi family’s influence over the Congress party.

He, however, did not mention any names and said that politics and personal relationships were and should be two completely different things.

Azad said that he wanted to reveal the name and flag of his party on the auspicious occasion of Navratra. Explaining the three blue, and yellow stripes of his party flag, he said: “Mustard colour indicates creativity and unity in diversity, white indicates peace and blue signifies freedom, open space, imagination and limits from the depths of the ocean to the heights of the sky.”

Azad praised Maharaja Hari Singh that on the strong demand of the Kashmiri Pandits he had safeguarded rights of J&K’s permanent residents over land and  government jobs. He said that restoration of the same rights and Statehood, which had been removed through reorganisation in August 2019, would be the key objective of his party.

Azad said that his party’s rallies and activities would be part of the poll campaigning as elections could be held in Jammu and Kashmir at any point in time.

As regards the outcry in Kashmir valley over the ‘barriers’ being created in transportation of fresh fruit, particularly apples, Azad demanded “unhindered passage of all fruit laden trucks just as is the case with ambulances” on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

“These trucks should reach Delhi in 24 hours”, Azad said. He said that J&K’s economy was hugely dependent on tourism, horticulture and handicrafts. “Even as tourism has been revived to a great extent, the government must ensure every possible support to horticulture”, Azad said.

In yet another significant demand, Azad said that the decades old practice of “Darbar Move” between Srinagar and Jammu must be restored as it had badly affected not only the liaison but also the businesses more in Jammu than in Kashmir.

“These artificial barriers must go at once. Darbar used to be a link, a relationship between the people of Kashmir and Jammu.

Azad emphasised the revival of the centuries-old relations between the people of the two geographically, politically, culturally and linguistically divided regions.

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