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Former PCC president Peerzada, MLC Parray side with Azad

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Azad to address rally in Jammu on Sep 4

Srinagar/New Dlhi:  Former PCC president Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday resigned from Congress and pledged support to veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is likely to float his political party.

There has been an exodus from the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress since Azad quit the party on Friday, with 64 more leaders including a former deputy chief minister resigning on Tuesday.

“There is a limit to tolerance. I was feeling suffocated in the Congress party. So, it is with a heavy heart that I am snapping my ties with the party after nearly 50 years,” Sayeed, who was a minister in several governments in Jammu and Kashmir, told reporters.

Sayeed said his decision to leave the Congress party was based on the feedback he received from his constituents in the Kokernag Assembly segment.

“The people I represent said… the party leadership was not paying any attention to the feedback from the ground. In my 50 years in the party, Congress has never been in such bad shape. I had to listen to my constituents,” he added.

At the press conference with Sayeed was former MLC and party leader Mohammad Muzaffar Parray. Dozens of lesser-known leaders and workers owing allegiance to Sayeed were also present.

Asked if more leaders were going to switch sides in the coming days, Sayeed said there were not many left in the Congress now.

“Who is left in the Congress now? All the senior leaders have left the party,” he added.

Several former ministers and legislators from Jammu and Kashmir are among those who have resigned from the party and thrown their weight behind Azad, who quit the grand old party after nearly 50 years of association.

Sayeed also said he was in regular touch with Azad over the past many years.

“Azad would often express helplessness saying no one listens to him in the party. We told him to leave the party and pledged to join him,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ghulam Nabi Azad will address a rally in Jammu on September 04, his first after quitting the Congress.

The rally is planned on the day Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is slated to address a ‘Mehngai par Halla Bol’ event in the national capital.

With the timing of Azad’s launch event in Jammu and Kashmir coinciding with Gandhi’s rally, it will be seen if there are more fireworks on the day the former Congress chief addresses the mega event at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.

Azad has said his resignation letter was just a “tip of the iceberg”, indicating that he would step up his attack on the Gandhis in the coming days.

He has already stated that he would float his own party in Jammu and Kashmir soon, where Assembly elections are due to be announced.

Ahead of Azad’s Sunday rally in Jammu’s Sainik farms, there has been a spate of resignations in the Jammu and Kashmir Congress.

Sixty-four more leaders, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, tendered their resignation and joined the Ghulam Nabi Azad camp on Tuesday, leaving the unit of the national party in the Union Territory in tatters.

The former Union minister had targeted Rahul Gandhi in his five-page resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi last Friday.

Azad had launched a stinging attack on Rahul Gandhi describing him as “immature” and “childish” and accusing the leadership of “foisting a non-serious individual” at the helm of the party.

Azad mentioned Rahul Gandhi seven times, accusing him of running the party through a “new coterie of inexperienced sycophants”.

Azad, 73, who ended his nearly five-decade association with the Congress, also attacked party chief Sonia Gandhi for applying the “remote control model that demolished the institutional integrity of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government” to the party.

He also reminded Sonia Gandhi that she was just a “nominal figurehead” and all the important decisions were being taken by Rahul Gandhi or “rather worse his security guards and PAs”.

Azad slammed Rahul Gandhi’s conduct within the party and singled out his action of tearing up a government ordinance in “full glare” of the media.

“One of the most glaring examples of this immaturity was the tearing up of a government ordinance in the full glare of the media by Shri Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

“The said ordinance was incubated in the Congress Core Group and subsequently unanimously approved by the Union Cabinet presided over by the Prime Minister of India and duly approved even by the President of India.

“This ‘childish’ behaviour completely subverted the authority of the Prime Minister and Government of India,” said Azad, who served as Health Minister in the UPA-II government.

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