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Sonia picks Ghulam Nabi Azad as JK Cong campaign chief, he declines

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Vikar Rasool appointed PCC Chief; Rashid Dar rebels, resigns

Srinagar: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday appointed former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad as the party’s  campaign committee chief in the union territory, but he declined the offer.

As part of a comprehensive revamp of the organisation in Jammu and Kashmir, Gandhi also appointed Vikar Rasool Wani, considered close to Azad, as the new JK unit chief.

Senior Congress leader and two-time MLA from Sopor, Abdul Rashid Dar, reports suggest, has resigned from the party in protest against appointing Rasool as chief.

Azad is a prominent member of the G23 grouping within the Congress which has been critical of the leadership and has been seeking an organisational overhaul.

Azad, who retired from the Rajya Sabha last year, was not renominated to the upper house by the Congress.

In the revamped unit, Raman Bhalla was named as the working president of J&K Congress and Azad as campaign committee chief, with Tariq Hamid Karra as vice chief of the campaign panel.

Hours after the appointments were made public, sources said Azad declined to accept the offer.

Wani replaces Ghulam Ahmad Mir who had tendered his resignation in July after holding the post for eight years.

The Congress president has accepted the resignation of Mir from the post of president, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, a party statement said.

The Congress president appointed president and working president of the J&K unit and also constituted the campaign committee, political affairs committee, coordination committee, manifesto committee, publicity and publication committee, disciplinary committee and pradesh election committee of the UT unit with immediate effect, the statement said.

Wani (46), a resident of Banihal township of Jammu region’s Ramban district, is a two-time former legislator who also served as a minister during the Omar Abdullah-led National Conference-Congress coalition government between 2009-14.

Tariq Hamid Karra will be the vice chairman of the campaign committee headed by Azad, while G M Saroori will be its convenor, according to the statement.

The campaign committee has named 11 leaders with PCC president and working president its permanent invitees.

Mir, Tara Chand, Thakur Balwan Singh, T S Bajwa, Shabir Khan, Neeraj Kundan, Abdul Majeed Wani and Fairoz Khan are also part of the campaign committee.

Gandhi also set up a political affairs committee with Karra as its chairman and it included the likes of Azad, Mir and Saifuddin Soz.

The political affairs committee also includes Peerzada M Syed, Taj Mohiuddin, Tara Chand, Mula Ram and Khemlata Wakhlu.

The committee comprises nine leaders with AICC in-charge, PCC president and working president being permanent invitees in the panel.

The party also formed an 11-member coordination committee headed by Mir, 12-member manifesto committee under the chairmanship of Soz and nine-member publicity and publication panel led by Mula Ram.

A seven-member disciplinary committee has been formed with Taj Mohiyuddin as the chairman.

A Pradesh Election Committee headed by PCC chief has also been set up.

Meanwhile, the Congress high command’s decision to appoint Vikar Rasool as head of Jammu & Kashmir unit has triggered a rebellion within the Pradesh Congress Committee with former MLA Sopore Abdur Rashid Dar resigning from basic membership of the party.

Talking to KNO, Dar, who represented Sopore twice in Assembly, said that he has resigned from the party over appointment of Vikar Rasool as PCC head.

“Vikar is not acceptable to us. They should have appointed a senior leader as PCC head. I am a 40-year old Congress worker. How can I accept a junior like Vikar as my head?” asked Dar.

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