Combined meeting of J&K leaders with Cong high command today

Azad likely to be given free hand

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, July 12: Even as consensus eludes over the name of new PCC president, Ghulam Nabi Azad is likely to be given free hand for rejuvenating Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
Sources in the Congress circles told the Excelsior that the party leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, who met with the AICC general secretary (Organization) K C Venugopal and Incharge J&K Affairs Rajni Patil at 15 GRG Road, offered to support whatever decision the high command takes in interest of the organization in J&K.
“During the meetings, there was no direct reference over the individual choice for new PCC chief and the discussion mostly revolved around possible measures to further strengthen the party in J&K in view of the reports that Assembly elections are on the cards,” said the Congress leaders who met the high command panel at New Delhi today.
Second round of meetings with Congress leaders from J&K, who could not reach New Delhi today because of Eid celebrations, will be held tomorrow morning at the same venue which will be followed by a combined meeting of all the J&K leaders with the high command, during which some significant announcement may be made with regard to the role of Ghulam Nabi Azad in the party affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said.
PCC working president Raman Bhalla, former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Mula Ram, Balwan Singh , Balbir Singh, Ravinder Sharma, Manohar Lal, Yogesh Sawhney and Vikar Rasool were among those who met K C Venugopal and Rajni Patil today.
The high command met each leader individually and gave a time of 15-20 minutes for discussion during which stress was laid on unity in the party besides talks on J&K issues, possible strategy for strengthening the organization at grass root level and party strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the UT, sources said.
Even as Ghulam Nabi Azad as well as Ambika Soni were not present in the high command panel during the meetings held today, sources said that both the leaders will attend combined meeting tomorrow wherein some significant announcement may be made.
Ghulam Nabi Azad is likely to be given free hand for rejuvenating the party in Jammu Kashmir and an announcement in this regard may be made tomorrow in the combined meeting, sources said, adding that the high command may take some time in declaring the name of new PCC president because of apparent factionalism in the party.
Meanwhile, incumbent PCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir , who has already submitted his resignation, Tariq Hamid Karra, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Peerzada Mohd Sayeed, G M Saroori, Ghulam Nabi Monga, Akram Choudhary, Jahangir Mir, Amin Bhat, Haji Rashid and Gulzar have reached New Delhi for meeting with the high command tomorrow morning.
Pertinent to mention that despite resignation of G A Mir on July 5, the Congress high command has so far failed to appoint new PCC President owing to factionalism in J&K unit of the party. Vikar Rasool, a die-hard loyalist of Ghulam Nabi Azad, was front runner among the four probable names discussed by the party high command for the post of PCC president, during a high level meeting by K C Venugopal, Rajni Patil and G A Mir at New Delhi on July 4. However, groups of Congressmen in J&K, including several office bearers, who are considered to be close to G A Mir, purportedly forwarded representations to Sonia Gandhi conveying their reservations over replacing the PCC chief at the time when Jammu and Kashmir is in election mode and also expressed their resentment over considering the names of those persons for the post of PCC chief, who were allegedly disloyal to the party and had raised banner of revolt against the official team of Congress. Besides Vikar Rasool, names of Peerzada Sayeed, G M Saroori and G N Moga were under discussion for the new PCC president.