Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in a rally in Jammu on Sunday said that while he has not yet decided the name of his new party, he would give it a Hindustani name so that every Indian can understand it.
Azad further said that the new party would focus on the restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. There was speculation prior to the rally that he would announce the name of the party in the rally.
This is Azad's first rally since he resigned from the Congress party last month. In his resignation letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he had blasted her and her son Rahul Gandhi's leadership, saying that Sonia is a mere figurehead and that Rahul has surrounded himself with a coterie of sycophants and senior leaders have been sidelined. He had also called Rahul childish and immature.
ANI quoted Azad as saying: "I have not decided upon a name for my party yet. The people of Jammu and Kashmir will decide the name and the flag for the party. I will give a Hindustani name to my party that everyone can understand. My party will focus on the restoration of full statehood and right to land and employment to native domicile."
After resigning from the Congress party after being associated with it for five decades, Azad had said he would float a new party. People close to him had said at the time that the party's would be set up in Jammu and Kashmir. Azad confirmed it on Friday.
"For now, I am going to set up my party's first unit in Jammu and Kashmir. For now, it will be a J&K party. Will make it national only after J&K Assembly elections most likely in December 2022. Will start my 13-day tour to J&K from tomorrow," a journalist quoted Azad as saying.
"For now, I'm going to set up my party's first unit in J&K. For now, it will be a J&K party. Will make it national only after J&K Assembly elections most likely in December 2022. Will start my 13-day tour to J&K from tomorrow", Ghulam Nabi Azad told @ahmedalifayyaz this evening.— Ahmed Ali Fayyaz (@ahmedalifayyaz) September 3, 2022
Azad on Friday also lashed out at the Congress party at its culture of token protests.
"I spent nights in Tihar when Indira Gandhi went to jail. Now I see that people from Congress go to jail in buses, then they call DGP, police commissioners, get their name written and leave within an hour. That is the reason Congress has been unable to grow," said Azad in Hindi in the Friday's rally in Jammu.
#WATCH | J&K: "People from Congress now go to jail in buses, they call DGP, Commissioners, get their name written & leave within an hour. That is the reason Congress has been unable to grow," says Ghulam Nabi Azad at a public meeting in Jammu pic.twitter.com/SVjxTVUeQ4— ANI (@ANI) September 4, 2022
Azad also criticised the party for being active on the internet instead of ground.
"People are trying to defame us but their reach is limited to computers and tweets. That is the reason Congress is nowhere to be seen on the ground. I won't dictate from Delhi," Times Now quoted Azad as saying.
Azad was received by a host of supporters at the Jammu airport, who accompanied him to the venue of the rally. Notably, the resignation of Azad had triggered a exodus in Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress with several former ministers and office-bearers leaving Congress to join Azad's new party.
CNN-News18 reported that the road along the Jammu airport was lined with posters welcoming Azad. The venue of the rally had arrangements for 20,000 people.
It further quoted Azad's close aide GM Saroori as saying that people from different parties are also in touch with them.
"People have tested Azad during his chief ministership (from November 2005 to July 2008) and are eagerly waiting for his return as the next chief minister," Saroori was quoted as saying.