Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Congress suspends three leaders in J&K
DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE CRACKS WHIP ON GULCHAIN CHARAK, ABDUL GANI VAKIL AND PREM SAGAR AZIZ FOR ANTI-PARTY ACTIVITIES; CHARAK, VAKIL QUIT PARTY
JAMMU: The Congress by suspending three top leaders, all former ministers, has sent a strong message to the dissidents in the party in Jammu and Kashmir. The move is seen as a serious act of revival by the party, which could win only 12 seats in the last assembly elections in the state.
The central disciplinary committee of the party had on July 14 suspended Gulchain Singh Charak, Abdul Gani Vakil and Prem Sagar Aziz for anti-party activities. The decision was, however, made public by the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) late on Sunday evening.
“It’s a message to all that the anti-party activities will not be tolerated and the rot in the party will be rooted out. The party will give chance to young people who are working among the people,” PCC president GA Mir told HT. Except Prem Sagar, the other two have never won any election, though they were cabinet ministers and seen belonging to the camp of Ghulam Nabi Azad. The central disciplinary commit- tee comprising Azad, AK Antony and Motilal Vohra, took the decision of their suspension.
“The party has now decided to throw its weight behind GA Mir. It’s for this reason Azad had decided to take action against people who were seemingly close to him. Mir is now the undisputed leader and it has to be acknowledged by all,” said a senior leader, wishing not to be named.
The decision was taken on July 14, but it was not made public. The suspended leaders, though got a whiff and held a parallel function to mark the birth centenary celebrations of GL Dogra. It was then the party decided to make the suspension public. The dissension in the state unit of the Congress has been a perpetual affair. In the past, former PCC president Mohd Shafi Qureshi and senior Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma were are at loggerheads, then ex-PCC president Saifuddin Soz and GN Azad had differences. The dissenting leaders had in the past also organised parallel functions. But, then the central leadership of the party didn’t take any action.
“It’s probably for the first time that the party has suspended leaders and made the decision public. Similar act should be taken across India as the party is making serious efforts to re-emerge after losses in the parliamentary and state elections,” said Cong MLA Usman Majid. According to sources, Mir, who is considered close to the Gandhi family, had been given free hand to re-build the party in the state.
Meanwhile, two of the three leaders suspended by the Congress high command have resigned from the party. Charak and Vakil, in separate letters to party president Sonia Gandhi, have said the party has no future under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and GA Mir.