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Ghulam Nabi Azad quits Congress; 5 more leaders quit party 

JAMMU, AUG 26

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday resigned from all party positions, including its primary membership, delivering another blow to the embattled party that has seen a series of leaders leave it.

Hours after former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad quit the Congress, five senior party leaders including two former ministers resigned the party’s basic membership with sources saying more are likely go.

Former ministers R S Chib and G M Saroori, former MLA Mohammad Amin Bhat, former MLC Naresh Gupta and party leader Salman Nizami resigned in support of Azad, sources said.

They said five more leaders are likely to quit including former MP Jugal Kishore Sharma and ex-legislators Haji Abdul Rashid, Chowdhary Mohd Akram and Gulzar Ahmad Wani.

Another prominent leader, Muneer Ahmad Mir, is also likely to resign, the sources said.

 “Over the years as a member of the Congress Party, it has been my sincere endeavour to work for the betterment of my State – Jammu & Kashmir. I feel that in the prevailing circumstances, the Congress Party has lost its momentum in contributing towards the future of my State.

 “Keeping in view the turmoil that the State of J&K has witnessed over the past decades, the people require a decisive leader like Azad to guide them towards a better future. I feel that the Congress Party has not been able to play the role that is expected of it,” Chib said in his resignation letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Saroori, a former vice president of J&K unit of Congress, along with several other leaders met Azad in Delhi before submitting his resignation from the party, the sources said.

Most of these leaders, who are seen to be loyal to Azad, are camping in New Delhi.

However, RS Chib too followed suit saying he will stay with Azad in whatever he decided. Chib also said Azad was pushed against a wall by the party high command and had no choice but to quit. “We knew he would resign, had been having these talks for the past two months. Ghulam Nabi Azad was pushed against the wall by the party high command, he had no choice but to quit the party and its primary membership,” Chib said, adding, “Congress lost decisive leadership both at central and state level. This loss caused party’s graph to decline… GN Azad is a leader himself, his decision is his own. But we will stay with him in whatever he decides.”

GM Saroori, Haji Abdul Rashid, Mohd Amin Bhat, Gulzar Ahmad Wani and Choudhary Mohd Akram. “We the five ex-MLAs are resigning from the Congress party in support of Ghulam Nabi Azad. Now, only JKPC president will be left alone,” Saroori said.

Meanwhile, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday said it was a bit impulsive of Ghulam Nabi Azad to leave the Congress, as he should stick to his secular ideals. Abdullah also said he would love to have Azad in his party. “Azad was a bit impulsive… Should stick to his secular ideals… And we would love to take him in the NC if Azad sahab requests. The Congress should also find a way to get the senior leaders back,” Abdullah added.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday described Ghulam Nabi Azad’s resignation from the Congress as a body blow to the party, saying it was “sad” and “scary” to see the grand old party implode.

“Long rumoured to be in the offing but a body blow to the Congress none the less. Perhaps the senior most leader to quit the party in recent times, his resignation letter makes for very painful reading,” he tweeted.

“It’s sad, and quite scary, to see the grand old party of India implode,” Omar added.

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