J&K: Blow to Congress As Several Leaders Resign From Party Posts, Demand Leadership Change

Most of the leaders who have quit their posts are close to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Jammu: Signalling trouble for the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, at least 20 leaders – including former ministers and ex-legislators – have resigned from their party positions, saying their demands to change the party’s leadership in the Union Territory (UT) had been ignored by the high command.

Most of the leaders who have quit the posts are close to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of the so-called G23 group of Congress leaders who have called for a change in the way the party functions at the national level.

According to news agency PTI, those who have resigned from party posts include former ministers G.M. Saroori, Jugal Kishore, Vikar Rasool and Manohar Lal. Others who have resigned include former legislators Ghulam Nabi Monga, Naresh Gupta, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Subash Gupta; and the party’s J&K unit vice-president Anwar Bhat. According to Indian Express, among the others who have resigned are district presidents and general secretaries, corporators and AICC members.

The former legislators have sent their resignation letters to party chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and J&K in-charge Rajni Patil. It says the “hostile attitude” of the party leadership compelled them to resign from all party posts and also trained their guns at the J&K unit chief G.A. Mir.

However, some other leaders in the party close to Azad, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, have distanced themselves from these leaders, PTI reported.

In the letter, the leaders have said that they tried to draw the attention of the party high command towards their issues but no time was given to them.

The leaders said they have been seeking appointment from the party leadership for the past year through the memorandums and by way of personal requests during the visit of Rahul Gandhi to Srinagar and Jammu in August 2021 but they were not given time.

Attacking Mir, they charged that the party is heading towards a “disastrous” situation under him and that a large number of Congress leaders have resigned and joined other parties, while some of them have chosen to remain silent.

They also charged that some leaders have captured and hijacked the functioning of the Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir.

Noting that assembly polls may be announced soon, they said the party high command is not ready to hear their genuine grievances.

Two of the leaders who resigned, Monga and Rasool, confirmed to Indian Express that they have written a letter to the party president seeking a change in of leadership. Rasool said, “We had been told that he [Mir] is being appointed for a period of three years, but it has been seven years now. However, we have told the high command that we will not hold any party position if there is no change in the party leadership in J&K.” He revealed that the letter had been written some 20 days ago.

According to PTI, the Congress high command has already made it clear that any grievance should be redressed through the party mechanism and not through the media. “They are likely to face disciplinary action,” a senior party leader said.

Another senior PCC functionary told IE that the leaders had not been attending party meetings for more than a year. The leaders had written a similar letter about six months ago, the newspaper reported.

(With PTI inputs)