G-23 leaders message to high command: take immediate steps to revive party

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a meeting in Jammu on Saturday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a meeting in Jammu on Saturday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

‘Azad to play big role in J&K in coming days’

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Feb 27: Sending loud and strong message to the top All India Congress Committee (AICC) leadership, about half a dozen G-23 leaders today said that Congress Party has turned weakest during past 10 years and whatever is needed, should be done to strengthen the Party in the country.
Speaking at the ‘Peace Sammelan’ organized by the Gandhi Global Family here today, these leaders while dropping hint, said that Azad has to play a great role in Jammu and Kashmir in the days to come. They said J&K people litteraly need Azad at this crucial juncture and they fully support the cause of the people from this part of the country for the restoration of statehood.

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These leaders of G-23, who among others had flashed a letter to the AICC president Sonia Gandhi a few months ago to hold elections of Congress president and party heads in other States, today resolved to wage struggle and do what ever possible to make Congress party strong. They said country will be stronger if Opposition is strong. These leaders declared that they were prepared to make any sacrifice for the cause of the party and the country.
While addressing a mammoth gathering, Azad said, ‘ in politics, the battle never ends’. He said whether it is political struggle, or battle against poverty, unemployment or a pandemic like Corona against whom entire country is fighting.
“In J&K, the people are waging different kind of struggle. They are fighting for their identity which was lost with the disintegration of the State into two UTs on August 5, 2019. Nobody, wanted UT, neither the people of Kargil or even Jammu.” He said even BJP-RSS leaders can never dare to support UT for Jammu. Infact, they are also against it. The BJP only thought about imposing taxes, installing Toll Plazas and creating division in the society. It never thought of development, condition of roads, hospitals and educational institutions. They have (BJP) yet to impose tax on clothes the public is wearing, Azad regretted.
Veteran Congress leader said the struggle is also going on for job security and the land protection in J&K. All the promises made with the people during snatching away its special status fell flat. The J&K has borders with Pak and China and mischief from enemy side continues here. “Therefore, we all have much responsibility in J&K,” he added.
Azad said he was highly influenced with the Gandhian Philosophy since his college days and he started his political career following principles of Gandhi ji. AICC leader said he never delivered justice to any body after being influenced by religion or on the basis of region. He had similar instructions to his ministers or officers when he was Chief Minister in J&K or the Union Minister.
“We have distinct identity due to Kashmir and J&K State, but that identity was snatched from us. We were down-graded. Even today whether it is US president, heads of the countries like Canada, Britain, South Africa, China or Australia, they talk about Kashmir or J&K. “Our battle for the restoration of statehood for J&K would continue,” Azad maintained.
Azad further declared that he has retired from Rajya Sabha but not from the politics. He would continue to work for strengthening Congress Party and play every possible role for ensuing win of the party in the coming Assembly elections in five States. He said for providing justice to the people in J&K or other States, “we should have our MLAs, Ministers and Chief Ministers and for this it is imperative to make Congress Party more stronger.”
Former Union Law Minister and MP Kapil Sibal said he would speak truth from this platform dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. He said Gandhi believed in truth and non-violence. Sibal said the simple question arises, why we all are here today. The mesasage is very lound and clear, “ We are seeing Congress getting weaker day by day which is very unfortunate. We all want a strong Congress Party and a stronger Opposition, which is need of the hour. If Congress will be strong, country will be stronger, “ Sibal maintained.
Referring to the long political experience of Azad, Sibal regreted that top party leadership was not fully utilising his talent and experience. Quoting an example, Sibal said “for flying an aircraft safely, we need an expert pilot and an engineer as well. Azad has both the talents and his services, experience and talent must be tapped for the welfare of the party.” He said Azad is the leader of great stature. He remained incharge of almost all the States and he knows most of the leaders across the country. He can play a greater role in Jammu and Kashmir and the country as well.
Sibal said they were well aware of the issues of the people from J&K. He and his colleagues would forcefully raise the issue of statehood and jobs for local youth of J&K, in the Parliament in coming days and outside as well. He said they were not happy with the retirement of Azad and want to see him shortly back to the Parliament. Sibal said BJP has been playing mischiefes in several States. They tried to topple their Govermnets by using all means. They have been attacking those raising voice in favour of common man, farmers and even media is not being spared.
Taking on the BJP-led Government, the Congress leader said Mahatma Gandhi treaded the path of truth but this “Government is peddling lies”.
“Gandhiji was embracing non-violence while this Government was embracing violence. They are talking about Gandhiji but they do not adopt his truthfulness or non-violence,” he said.
“What is the issue before the nation?” he asked and claimed that the “BJP is using the resources to strengthen the party and not the people of the country”.
“They are conspiring and using the money power to bring down our elected Governments and silencing the right-thinking people and anyone speaking against them by misusing the Government agencies. It is happening in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere as well,” he said.
He said, “We have to end dictatorship and for that we have to start a new freedom struggle. We have sounded the bugle from here and it will be taken to every nook and corner of the country.”
He said 130 crore people of the country cannot be run by a few capitalists. “We will not take it and will educate people about the present dispensation.”
While dropping hint, Manish Tiwari (MP) said Azad has retired only from the Rajya Sabha and not the politics. He has yet to play a big role in J&K and the country in near future. He said Azad is most dedicated and committed Congress leader. Whenever, the party or the country had any crisis, the experience and expert advice of Azad was sought by the leadership.
He said NDA Govt had done great injustice to J&K. Such a great and prestigious State was divided into two UTs. Its special status was snatched. J&K had a golden history but all this was ruined on August 5, 2019. He said J&K needs Azad and his services at this crucial period. He declared that they would continue to fight for providing statehood back to J&K.
Former Union Minister Anand Sharma (MP), while sending caution note said some people must be thinking that why we all are here. They must understand that they are Indians and can move to any corner of the country. “Nobody should have any doubt that we are the Government servants.” He said for the last over a decade Congress has turned weak. “It pains all of us. For raising voice for strong Congress we are here today,” Sharma said.
“We went on losing and Congress turned weaker day by day. Due to weak Congress the present situation has been created in the country. We are here to raise our voice for strong Congress. We will tell what is Congress and its history and show how Congress can get strengthened. We have not been air- dropped into the party or came through windows. We have struggled as youth leaders on road contested elections and then entered the party through front door,” Sharma maintained.
“There can be difference of opinion in a family or organization but it does not mean that the voice of members is not heard. Congress has great history. Even J L Nehru had different opinion than his father Moti Lal Nehru and even the Subash Chander Bose but Congress has the history to listen all and respect all and do what ever is better for the organization. It is important to keep intact whatever inherited to us and not lose it by committing mistakes, “ he added.
He further declared that their fight will be now from Jammu to Nagpur and party will contest with full might the coming Assembly elections in five States. He said BJP has bagged just 37 % vote and 63 vote has gone against this party. There is need to get united by all the other like minded parties who believe in true democracy and secularism. The balance has been disturbed in the country and for maintaining balance, it is important that all the like minded parties come together. He said J&K will definitely get back statehood status and they would continue their struggle for the same.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Kumar Hudda, former MP Raj Babbar, Vivek Tenkha-MP, former DyCM Tara Chand, president Gandhi Global Family, S P Verma and others also spoke on the occasion. Besides, Azad, all these G-23 leaders were felicitated on the occasion.