Srinagar: The resignation of Azad from Congress is regarded as a huge setback to the party at the national level, but its impact would be visible on the JKPCC and on the coming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
If Azad floats a regional party with the demand of restoration of statehood only, he will gain a lot of support in the Jammu region, while in Kashmir valley, those political forces which are out of PAGD will ultimately join him after the elections. For the first time among the G23 group, former senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has openly attacked Rahul Gandhi for the present mess in the party. Azad had indicated earlier that he was on his way out from the Congress and on Friday, he officially resigned from all the posts, including from the basic membership of the party.
In Jammu and Kashmir, it will be having its impact not only on the local Congress unit, but also on the prospects of the PAGD to confront BJP in the coming Assembly election. The Sunday Guardian had reported earlier from Jammu and Kashmir that Azad is under pressure from his workers and loyalists to float his own regional party so that they can participate in the Assembly election.
Earlier reports had suggested that Azad was in touch with many like-minded persons and parties, both in Jammu and Kashmir, to float a regional party. His close circle friends have indicated that Azad will like to go alone in the coming Assembly elections and will maintain a distance from the PAGD which is demanding the restoration of Article 370. Azad has been advocating only restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and has been trying to weave a coalition with such parties alone.
Although he will not go for any open coalition with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, it is most likely that he will be helped in many ways by the saffron party to keep PAGD and Congress away from power. The J&K Congress unit is surely going to crumble in a big way, if Azad decides to float his own party as he has a lot of goodwill in the Chenab valley region and also in the plains of the Jammu region.
His close aides have indicated that if a regional party is floated by Azad, it would be just like the PDP when the Late Mufti Muhammad Syed floated a regional party after coming back to J&K from national politics. He could cobble many like-minded persons and was able to displace the National Conference government after a long time in Jammu and Kashmir with the support of Congress.
Azad may repeat the PDP feat with the help of BJP as in many of his stronghold areas, the party may field lightweight candidates and most likely, he may get the support of those Kashmir-based political parties which are not part of PAGD.
The resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad is a huge setback to the central Congress and will encourage the G23 group to go for an all-out attack against Rahul Gandhi for his immature behavior and for ruining the party at the grassroots level. Former Chief Minister and Vice President of the National Conference in a tweet has said, “It’s sad, and quite scary, to see the grand old party of India implode.”
PAGD president and main face of National Conference Farooq Abdullah in his reaction has shown that they are not happy with the development. In a veiled attack, Farooq said that Azad may not have been getting the old love and respect in the party while predicting a comeback of Congress. Though he played down the development, Azad’s resignation is not good news for PAGD as Azad may emerge as a CM candidate after the elections in Jammu and Kashmir and may cobble a coalition with the help of BJP on the same lines as Late Mufti Muhammad Syed did when he became the Chief Minister with the help of Congress and other independent candidates.
At that time, PDP was able to get only a few Assembly seats on its own, the rest was with the help from the Centre to cobble up a coalition and keep National Conference on the opposition benches despite being the largest party in that Assembly.