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Will make Congress J&K’s number one party: JKPCC chief

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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Vikar Rasool Wani on Tuesday played down the chain of resignations in the party and said “cowards” run away during difficult times as the state unit held a show of strength rally here.

He said the new leadership will strive hard to make the Congress “number one” party in the Union territory.

Wani, the newly appointed Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, arrived here on Tuesday, with party leaders and workers lining up on both sides of the road to welcome him. He was accompanied by AICC in-charge J&K and MP Rajani Patil.

“We will fight the BJP as well as those selfish people who have left the party. We will make the party number one in Jammu and Kashmir,” Wani told reporters.

Dubbing those who left the Congress as “loyalists of Azad”, he said only cowards run away during difficult times.

“Those who are loyal to (Ghulam Nabi) Azad will leave the party but there are thousands who are loyal to Congress and they will stay in the party.”

He said the leaving of some people will not matter much to the party. “There will not be any major loss to the Congress,” Wani added.

As many as 64 senior Congress leaders, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, resigned from the party in support of Ghulam Nabi Azad here on Tuesday, asserting that Azad’s vision will shape a new and bright future for Jammu and Kashmir. Azad, 73, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, quit the Congress on Friday.

The JKPCC chief was received by senior leaders Raman Bhalla and Yogesh Sawhney amid pro-Congress and pro-Rahul Gandhi slogans. The Congress cavalcade of vehicles and motorcycles then moved into the city.

Amid drum beating, Congress workers lined up on two sides of the road and showered flowers upon the newly announced leadership of the J&K Congress.

“Those interested to leave the party and want to go with Azad can leave. The party only wants loyalists who stand with the ideology of the party and its leadership,” Bhalla said.

Pointing towards the huge number of Congress activists, he said, “This is the proof of loyalty. We don’t want disloyal and selfish people who after enjoying power for years leave the party in its difficult times.”

The party also said that Azad was a “selfish person” who left the party when he was tasked to render his services in Jammu and Kashmir.

It said Azad forgot the favours done to him by the party leadership by giving him important responsibilities in the past 50 years.

“A sadhu made a cat, dog and finally a lion out of a mouse. But when the lion came to him to make sadhu a feast, he converted him back to mouse. Like this, my Congress party made someone a lion out of a mouse. If loin has bad intentions on his part, it (party) has the power to make him a mouse again. This power is in every worker of the Congress party,” AICC in-charge for J&K and MP Rajani Patil said while addressing a rally here. She did not name Azad in her ‘sadhu and mouse’ tale though.

Patil lashed out at Azad for being selfish in leaving the party at the time when the leadership tasked him to render his services in the Union territory.

“When time came for you (Azad) to render services for the Congress party (which is currently out of the power), you left the party. It is a selfish thing. It is not the right thing. You are shedding crocodile tears. You did not remember the favours of the party and its top leadership for you,” she added.

Patil said Azad accused the top leadership of forcing him out of the Congress but does he remember that they were the same “gharwalay” (family) when former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi took him to Maharastra to get him elected from a safe seat when he got defeated in Jammu and Kashmir.

“You don’t remember that (favour). For five terms, for a period of 30 years, you were given permanent Rajya Sabha seats by this family (garhwalas). You were made minister, cabinet minister, LoP and in-charge of various states and representative of the nation at international forums by this family (Gandhi family),” she said.

“You ruled the entire country as general secretary of the party. You don’t remember that. You were made as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. You don’t remember any leader now,” she added.

Patil said former prime minister Indira Gandhi chose “helpers” to contest elections on the party ticket and they won. It happened when no one was ready to contest elections on the party ticket during a tough time, she added. “That is the power of the party. Don’t lose courage. We will win again,” she told party workers.

Patil accused Azad of remaining silent on the Bilkis Bano rape case and the abrogation of Article 370.

Terming those leaders who left the party in Jammu and Kashmir as “disloyal”, she said they thought that they will get benefits from going with Azad. “I tell them please go. It won’t make any difference to the party.”



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