Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other party leaders take part in the party's 'Azadi Gaurav Yatra' on 76th Independence Day, in New Delhi on Monday, August 15, 2022. Image Credit: ANI

Jammu: Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Friday resigned from all positions in the Congress party, including its basic membership following his differences with the party high command.

Azad had earlier resigned as the head of the Congress campaign committee in J&K. This was followed by some of his loyalists resigning from the Congress.

Azad joined the Congress in the mid 1970s and has held many important positions both in the party and the government.

He was a minister in the central cabinet headed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Since 1980, Azad was the general secretary of AICC under every party president during that period.

He was the chief minister of J&K from 2005 to 2008.

In his resignation letter addressed to party president Sonia Gandhi, Azad said, “You are aware that I had an extremely close relationship with your family from late Mrs Indira Gandhi, late Shri Sanjay Gandhi onwards including your late husband.

“In that spirit I also have great personal regard for your personal trials and tribulations which would always continue.

“Some of my other colleagues and I will now persevere to perpetuate the ideals for which we have dedicated our entire adult lives outside the formal fold of the Indian National Congress”.

Ghulam Nabi Azad in his resignation letter has blamed Rahul Gandhi for the destruction of the party and has alleged that proxies are propped up for the president’s post, who will only be a mere puppet.

Azad alleged that they were abused, humiliated, insulted and vilified in a specially summoned meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee meeting after their letter seeking reforms in the party in 2020 which was signed by 23 leaders.

He said: “Unfortunately, the situation in the Congress party has reached such a point of no return that now “proxies are being propped up to take over the leadership of the party. This experiment is doomed to fail because the party has been so comprehensively destroyed that the situation has become irretrievable. Moreover, the ‘chosen one’ would be nothing more than a puppet on a string.”

He said at the national level the Congress has conceded the political space available to the BJP and state level space to regional parties.

“This all happened because the leadership in the past eight years has tried to foist a non-serious individual at the helm of the party,” he alleged.

Azad alleged that in August 2020 when he and 22 other senior colleagues, including former Union Ministers and Chief Ministers wrote to Sonia Gandhi to flag the abysmal drift in the party, the “coterie” chose to “unleash its sycophants on us and got us attacked, vilified and humiliated in the most crude manner possible”.

The veteran leader alleged that on the directions of the coterie that runs the AICC today his mock funeral procession was taken out in Jammu and those who committed this indiscipline were feted in Delhi by the General Secretaries of the AICC and Rahul Gandhi personally.

“Subsequently the same coterie unleashed its goondas to physically attack the residence of a former Ministerial Colleague Sh. Kapil Sibal who incidentally was defending you and your kin in the courts of Law for your alleged attacks of omission and commission,” Azad wrote in the letter.

He said that the only crime committed by the 23 senior leaders, who wrote that letter out of concern for the party, is that they pointed out the reasons for the weaknesses in the party and the remedies thereof.

Azad’s parting ways with the Congress is seen as a significant development because of his political clout especially in the Jammu division. He belongs to Doda district.

If he chooses to float a new political party steering clear from both the Congress and the regional parties like the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, Azad could well become the kingmaker depending on the number of seats he can win out of the 43 seats in the Jammu division.