By Arun Joshi
Congress split is imminent as former leader of opposition and chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad has been chosen by the rebels as their leader in place of someone from the Gandhi family .
A convention of the party workers in Jammu laid the foundation for the parallel set up in the Grand Old Party of India as all the rebel leaders committed themselves to reviving and rejuvenating the party that has lost its way. “The truth is that Congress has weakened,” said former minister Kapil Sibal . “ But we will make it strong again and in this , Ghulam Nabi Azad will play the role of what a pilot plays in aircraft.”
The group of rebel Congress leaders, also known as G-23 that had signed a letter challenging the party leadership’ attitude and approach toward the party leaders and cadre , made their intentions clear as all the banners and posters at the rally site didn’t have even a single picture of any one from Gandhi family. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi pictures were missing .
Jammu was chosen as a place to launch the campaign for the splitting the party , that, too, at a time when the elections are on in. the five states, because it is the native region of Azad who enjoys an image of developmental man with extraordinary secular credentials in the place riven by communal tensions . Moreover, a message was sought to declared from here that Azad might have retired from Rajya Sabha but he has not retired from politics .
This point was spoken time and again by all the leaders , like former Haryana Chief Minister B S Hooda , Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma and Lok Sabha M P Manish Tiwari.
“ I have retired from the parliament but not from politics . I will stay in public life and politics until my last breath ,” Azad said underlining that his political innings were not finished as yet and he was looking forward to bigger role.
The idea was to attack the Narendra Modi government for having snatched the unique identity of the special status state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into the two Union Territories and present Azad as a strong leader who could take on Modi in the most effective manner on all issues . Simultaneously, the point was driven home that the current leadership of Congress – Gandhis- were incapable of standing up to Prime Minister as the party has weakened under them.
“ The bigger danger is that such a systemic failure can damage the country , and if the country is to be saved , we got to have a strong leadership,” Hooda said . Azad was profiled in that role, because he has both experience and high-standard leadership qualities to play “ save the country role “ in the most effective manner.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.
He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
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