Azad attending Congress meeting signals intent, his close aide likely to be new J&K party chief

New Delhi, July 13: After a period of relative silence, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad attended an important meeting held in the Congress war room here on Jammu and Kashmir, which may face elections by the end of this year.
Azad, who has kept a low profile for some time especially after his name did not figure in the Congress nominations for Rajya Sabha, emphasised in the meeting that the party should move ahead unitedly.
“Where there were differences among us, forgetting them and should move forward unitedly,” Azad is learnt to have said.
The party has accepted resignation Ghulam Ahmad Mir as party’s Jammu and Kashmir chief. Mir and Azad were seen to have differences.
AICC incharge of Jammu and Kashmir Rajni Patil has formed a new panel which has leaders close to Azad.
Sources said Congress leadership was keen for Azad to take over as president of party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit but the former chief minister refused, citing health issues.
A close aide of Ghulam Nabi Azad is likely to be made the new chief of party in Jammu and Kashmir. Waqar Rasool is seen to be the frontrunner for the post but there is some opposition to his name and there were references to this in the meeting also, sources said. There is a possibility that some other leader from Azad’s camp will get the post.
Congress general secretary KC Venugopal also admitted that there was difference of opinion among the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir Congress. “I am not hiding. Now we will all fight the elections together,” he said.
Azad, who has been a vocal leader of G-23, had set political circles abuzz with his public meetings in Jammu and Kashmir in November-December last year.
The G-23 members have been pushing for reforms including elections at various levels.
Both Ghulam Nabi Azad and party leader Anand Sharma did not figure in the list of Congress nominees of Rajya Sabha announced by the party in May. Azad had been the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House of Parliament before his retirement last year. (Agencies)