Congress in a tizzy as Azad keeps away from J&K poll pan­els

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY - @times­

New Delhi: Se­nior Congress leader Ghu­lam Nabi Azad has re­port­edly dis­so­ci­ated him­self from the party’s elec­tion com­mit­tees in Jammu and Kash­mir, throw­ing the state unit in the grip of fac­tion fight­ing.

Azad’s de­ci­sion comes barely days af­ter the state pan­els were con­sti­tuted by the AICC. Party sources said the draft of these com­mit­tees were sent to Azad for his ap­proval and ex­pressed sur­prise that he was hav­ing a re­think af­ter the an­nounce­ment. It is learnt that Azad has con­veyed to the lead­er­ship that he would not be part of the J&K pan­els be­cause he is busy with man­age­ment of elec­tions at the na­tional level.

He has said that he would cam­paign in the state but would not have time for state­cen­tric meet­ings.

Word has spread that he has opted out of state pan­els be­cause he was passed over for chair­man­ship of the state cam­paign com­mit­tee.

A cou­ple of key poll re­lated com­mit­tees are headed by state Congress pres­i­dent Ghu­lam Ahmed Mir while Azad is a mem­ber on these pan­els.Ex­press­ing sur­prise at the de­vel­op­ments, sources said Azad was of­fered the chair­man­ship of the cam­paign com­mit­tee, a panel that is headed by lead­ing con­tenders for chief min­is­ter­ship. Azad ap­par­ently re­fused the of­fer and stuck to his stand de­spite re­peated pleas from the cen­tral lead­er­ship and the state unit.

Sources said it was only then that the com­mit­tees were drafted without him at the head of any panel. He was also sent the draft of the com­mit­tees for a fi­nal look.A se­nior Congress leader said a state-level pro­gramme of party work­ers is sched­uled on Fe­bru­ary 17 and Azad, along with AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge Am­bika Soni, are sched­uled to ad­dress it. At that time, the party may make an­other at­tempt to clear the air so that peace re­turns to the state unit.

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