Six leaders from the UT, too quit Congress along with Azad on Friday. The J&K leaders of Congress who resigned from all the posts and the primary membership of the party, according to an unverified letter circulated on social media included G M Saroori, Abdul Rashid, Muhammad Amin Bhat, Gulzar Ahmad Wani and Choudhary Muhammad Akram. The five were Azad’s colleagues in J&K and ministers or legislators. Another former minister of Congress R S Chib from Jammu division separately informed about his resignation through a letter to the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi circulated on social media. “The Congress party has lost its momentum in contributing towards the future of my state. Keeping in view the turmoil that the state of J&K has witnessed over the past decades, the people require a decisive leader like Ghulam Nabi Azad to guide them towards a better future,” Chib wrote in his resignation letter.
Some of Azad’s other colleagues in Congress in J&K criticised his decision and termed it as ‘opportunistic and backstabbing.’ “For the last two years Congress was repeatedly telling Azad sahib that the party had invested in him for forty years to create an institution and after August 5, 2019, the time had come to represent oppressed people of J&K. This was the time to give back something to the party but he fled,” said Ghulam Ahmad Mir, senior Congress leader and former president of the JKPCC. Mir said that Azad and some others wanted to continue as ‘Rajya Sabha members and get all the protocol and freebies.’ “Maybe he has a pending offer from somewhere else to get all the protocol back, we got a lot of hints in that direction in the last two years,” he said. Another colleague of Azad and former union minister Saifuddin Soz said that he shouldn’t have resigned from the party. “Azad sahib cannot get the respect and position outside like what he enjoyed within the Congress,” said Soz.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah said that Azad left the party as he may not have been getting the respect and love showered upon him earlier within the Congress. “Things like these happened before and Congress came back stronger. The country needs a stronger opposition,” Abdullah told reporters here. Senior J&K National Conference leader Omar Abdullah termed the decision as a ‘big body blow to Congress rumoured to be in offing for a long time.’ “His resignation letter makes for very painful reading. It’s sad and quite scary to see the grand old party of India implode,” said Omar.