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Ghulam Nabi Launches Party Ahead of Amit Shah’s Visit

The former Congress leader said that the Democratic Azad Party will focus on peace, diversity and depth.
Ghulam Nabi Launches Party Ahead of Amit Shah’s Visit

Ghulam Nabi Azad. Image courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: Former Congress leader and chief minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Ghulam Nabi Azad launched his much-anticipated political outfit called the Democratic Azad Party (DAP) in Jammu on Monday ahead of Union home minister Amit Shah’s second visit to Union Territory (UT) during which he will address mega rallies in Rajouri and Baramulla districts.

The wait is over and the name of my party is Democratic Azad Party. Don’t misconstrue or connect the word ‘Azad’ in the party’s name with my personal name,” Azad, who had quit the Congress exactly one month ago, told reporters.

Explaining that the party will be democratic and secular, the former Congress veteran clarified that the word ‘Azad’ means that the party will be “independent”. Claiming to have received as many as 1,500 suggestions for naming the party, including in Urdu and Sanskrit, he said, “We wanted the name to be democratic, peaceful and independent.”

Azad also unveiled the DAP’s flag, which consists of blue, white and mustard colours. “Mustard colour denotes creativity and also means diversity. Both our country and J&K are full of diversity. White denotes peace and since we are followers of Gandhiji, we shall follow the path of peace. Dark blue denotes deep sea—the depth of the sea to the skies. We should have depth,” he said.

Many of his former Congress colleagues, including Tara Chand, GM Saroori and RS Chib, who joined Azad during the party launch, believe that he will steer the UT’s mainstream politics in a new direction.

In his first public meeting in Jammu on Sunday after quitting the Congress, Azad had said that his party will focus on the “restoration of full statehood, right to land and employment to native domicile”.

The Supreme Court has decided to consider the hearing (Article 370). Let’s see,” Azad said on Monday. 

Azad, who was accused by many of his former Congress colleagues and other politicians from the region of resigning at the Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) behest with some arguing that his move was going to benefit the BJP’s position, said, “We are here to compete at our own level. I have no competition with any party.”

Asserting that his party “will compete as students compete with each other in a classroom”, the veteran politician added, “We don’t have any enemy. The public is supreme and it will decide our fate. 

Slamming the Congress earlier in Jammu on Sunday, Azad had said that “he and his supporters who left the party” were being targeted. “The Congress was made by us and our blood, not by computers, not by Twitter. People are trying to defame us but their reach is limited to computers and tweets. That is why the Congress is nowhere to be seen on the ground.”

The former Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha had ended his long association with the Congress after nearly 50 years in an explosive resignation letter addressed to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.

In the five-page letter, Azad—who was the CM of erstwhile J&K from 2005 to 2008—had targeted the Congress leadership and termed former party president and current Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi “non-serious” and “immature”. 

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