Today: Jun 18, 2024

17 former DAP leaders return to Congress fold

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New Delhi: Seventeen former leaders of the Democratic Azad Party (DAP), including ex-deputy chief minister Tara Chand and ex-PCC chief Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, on Friday returned to the Congress fold and were welcomed back by the party which said they were on a “leave of two months”.

AICC general secretary K C Venugopal welcomed the leaders, saying it was a happy day for the party as they were returning back to their home ahead of the Bharat Jodo Yatra which will enter Jammu and Kashmir after two weeks.

“The Bharat Jodo Yatra has become a big movement in the country and that is why all these leaders have decided to come back to the Congress fold,” he told reporters.

“This is only a beginning and when the Yatra is entering Jammu and Kashmir, all people with Congress ideology and who want a united India will join the party. I think, they had gone on a leave for two months,” he said.

Asked whether there are any talks with DAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad to return to the Congress fold, Venugopal said he has himself denied any such talks.

On whether Azad has been invited for the Yatra, he said, “Those who believe in the Congress ideology are welcome to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra.”

“We have invited all like-minded parties to join the Yatra,” he said, adding that Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Sayeed will join the Yatra and walk with Rahul Gandhi in Srinagar.

Party leader Jairam Ramesh said, “A total of 19 leaders were to join today, but 17 were able to come to Delhi and join today. This is the first phase and others will also join soon”.

Asked about the reasons to quit the Congress, Tara Chand said, “We got carried away by emotions and friendship and quit the party in haste”.

On why they rejoined, he said, “We were not comfortable in DAP as we have spent 50 years of our life in the Congress and realised our mistake”.

Peerzada said there is need to strengthen and unite all secular forces in Jammu and Kashmir, where terrorism has increased instead of decreasing in the last eight years.

It’s not a setback for DAP: Azad

The leaders from Democratic Azad Party (DAP) returning to the Congress fold was not a setback for the newly formed party, its chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday.

Seventeen leaders of the DAP, including ex-deputy chief minister Tara Chand and ex-PCC chief Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, on Friday rejoined the Congress in New Delhi.

“It is not a setback because all three of them have no constituency. I wish them well, I will not say anything against them as they have been my old colleagues,” Azad told reporters here.

He was referring to Chand, Sayeed and Thakur Balwan Singh.

Azad said when the delimitation took place, these leaders were left without their constituencies as some Assembly constituencies were reserved by the commission.

“I had given them positions (in the party) as they were my old colleagues and they could not have contested elections. But, they could not digest that. It is okay. Perhaps where they went, they do not know that these three only had party positions, but have no constituencies,” he said.

Asked how he sees that the killings in Rajouri by militants were being given a “communal angle”, Azad said the killings of non-Muslims in J&K has also caused suffering to the Muslims.

“The militants have always tried this. It is not something new and has been happening for the last 25 years whenever massacres of Sikhs or Kashmiri Pandits took place… This has been Pakistan’s policy, it is regrettable and it causes a lot of sufferings to the Muslims of Kashmir.

“Perhaps the killers have no idea that Kashmiri Muslims have to bear the maximum brunt of the killing of any non-Muslim here. Lakhs of our boys and girls from Kashmir are studying across India. The killings have an impact on them in one way or the other,” Azad said.