Azad reaches Jammu on 2-day visit, meets delegations

Calls on Sonia, gives suggestions

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 19: Former Union Minister and senior All India Congress Committee leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad arrived here this afternoon.
Party sources said that Azad, who reached here this afternoon from the Union capital, straightway moved to his residence in Gandhi Nagar area. He met several party delegations and groups of social/ trade organizations at his residence till late this evening and discussed various issues related to the party and current scenario in the Jammu and Kashmir.
Azad will attend a social function being held at Garden Estate, Trikuta Nagar, Jammu tomorrow at 11.30 am and then will move to New Delhi in an afternoon flight, the sources added.
Meanwhile, Azad met Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday and said he conveyed suggestions to strengthen the party, a day after members of the dissenting group held a flurry of meetings over measures to revamp the organisation.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Sonia Gandhi, Azad said it was a good meeting with the Congress president with the discussion centred on how to prepare and fight unitedly the forthcoming Assembly polls to take on rival parties.
Playing down the meeting, he told reporters that it “may be news for you but we keep meeting the Congress president at various intervals”.
“Mrs Gandhi keeps having discussions with leaders to strengthen the organisation… A few days ago the working committee had met and suggestions were asked as to how to strengthen the Congress party and what were the reasons for the defeat (in five Assembly polls). I had also given my suggestions,” he said.
However, it is not possible to record and remember all suggestions, he added.
Azad said he reiterated suggestions to strengthen the Congress organisation.
The meeting comes a day after members of the G-23 held a flurry of meetings over measures to revamp the party.
After the Group of 23 pitched for an “inclusive and collective leadership” in the Congress, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, one of its members, met Rahul Gandhi on Thursday and the two leaders were learnt to have discussed a revamp of the party organisation, a key demand of the dissenters.
The meetings are being seen as an attempt by the Gandhi family to reach out to the G-23, which has shown signs of increasing aggression on the leadership issue after Congress’ abject loss in the assembly elections in five States.
Earlier on Friday, Azad also met veteran Congress leader Karan Singh and said he came to greet Singh on Holi.
Rahul Gandhi, a former Congress president, had called Hooda for a discussion on the political situation in Haryana. However, the discussion spilled over to the party’s abysmal performance in the elections.
Sonia Gandhi had earlier reached out to Azad on Wednesday ahead of the G-23 dinner meeting at his residence.
The leaders of the grouping have since held a series of meetings at Azad’s residence.
The party leadership wants to resolve the differences with the G-23 and is reaching out to its leaders. It is learnt to have deputed some senior leaders for parleys with the dissenting group to resolve the differences, according to sources.