Ghulam Nabi Azad to launch new party soon, first unit in J&K

Eight senior party leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, including three former ministers, resigned from Congress's primary membership

Ghulam Nabi Azad
Azad, part of the G-23 group that sought changes in the party, targeted Rahul and said he “demolished” the entire consultative mechanism of the party

Veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said he would launch a new party soon and that its first unit would be set up in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I am in no hurry as of now to launch a national party but keeping in mind that elections are likely to be held in Jammu and Kashmir, I have decided to launch a unit there soon,” Azad, who resigned from the Congress earlier in the day, told PTI.

Azad, who had served as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Union minister under various prime ministers and the chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, refused to divulge any further details on the formation of his new party.

Refusing to be dragged into any discussion over his resignation, Azad said, “I have thought about this decision for long, and there is no going back.”

On Friday, Azad resigned from all party positions, including the primary membership, severing his 50-year-old ties with the grand old party.

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In a five-page letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Azad said he was quitting the party with a “heavy heart” and said the party should have undertaken “Congress Jodo exercise” before starting “Bharat Jodo Yatra”.

“The Indian National Congress has lost both the will and the ability under the tutelage of the Coterie that runs the AICC to fight for what is right for India. In fact, before starting Bharath Jodo Yatra the leadership should have undertaken a Congress Jodo exercise across the country,” Azad wrote.

“It is therefore with great regret and an extremely leaden heart that I have decided to sever my half-a century-old association with the Indian National Congress and hereby resign from all my positions including the primary membership of the Indian National Congress,” he added.

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Hours after, eight senior party leaders, including three former ministers, resigned the party’s primary membership.

More leaders, perceived to be close to Azad, are contemplating resigning, sources said.

Former ministers R S Chib, G M Saroori and Abdul Rashid; former MLAs Mohammad Amin Bhat, Gulzar Ahmad Wani and Choudhary Mohammad Akram; former MLC Naresh Gupta and party leader Salman Nizami have resigned in Azad’s support, sources said.

(With Agency inputs)