After keeping away from party activities since being ignored for a Rajya Sabha nomination, former Leader of Opposition and J&K ex Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad attended a meeting on Wednesday called to discuss the preparations for state polls and appointment of the J&K Congress President following the resignation of Ghulam Ahmed Meer.
Azad, who is a force in the G-23 group, was unhappy and has been pushing for a more inclusive Congress setup, was ignored for the Rajya Sabha polls last month. Since then he has not been seen at party programmes including the satyagraha against the ED and the Agnipath scheme. The official reason was that he was not well at that time.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the Azad supporters wanted the removal of Mir and the appointment of someone who is close to him. The first demand was accepted and now the party will take a view on it. Party General Secretary KC Venugopal admitted that there are differences but the party is united in the fight against the BJP. “There are little differences, I am not hiding that, but now is the time to go together that everybody agreed to,” Venugopal said.
Sources in the meeting said that Azad discussed ways of strengthening the party in the state and issues related to elections.
Congress’ J&K President Ghulam Ahmad Mir had submitted his resignation to party chief Sonia Gandhi in the first week of July. In his letter of resignation, he said that he would abide by the party high command’s decision on the selection of his successor.
Mir, who was the party chief in J&K since 2015, said that following the best traditions of the party, he had put in his papers to facilitate the Congress President’s appointment of the next chief of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee.
The Congress in J&K has remained faction-ridden for the last many years with a tug of war going on between supporters and opponents of Ghulam Nabi Azad. Sources said the decision to replace Mir has been prompted by reports that the Assembly elections could be held in J&K by the year end. Reports here also said that the name of Azad loyalist, Vichar Rasool Wani is being considered by the Congress high command as Mir’s successor.