Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has triggered anxiety in the party circles by not outrightly ruling out the possibility of quitting the Congress and floating a separate party before the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Azad, who is for the past few days holding rallies across the Union Territory (UT) along with his loyalists, is keeping the Congress leadership guessing by giving statements against their style of functioning.
Azad has not chalked out his tour programme in consultation with the PCC chief GA Mir and was only carrying along with his loyalist former legislators.
He said that he does not intend to float a new party but hastened to clarify that future course of action in politics cannot be predicted.
Azad had a few days ago predicted that Congress will not secure 300 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections and as such the Article 370 will not be restored.
Some former ministers, legislators, and prominent Congress activists of Azad’s camp had recently shot a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi seeking removal of Mir from the post of PCC chief.
A section of the party claims that Azad, who is already in the dissident camp that is popularly identified as G-23, might follow the footsteps of Captain Amarinder Singh and float a separate political outfit.
The political situation in J&K currently is fluid as the BJP is eyeing to gain by hobnobbing with smaller parties particularly in the Kashmir valley.
Reacting to the divide in the Congress party that has further sharpened in the UT due to dissident activities of the Azad camp, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said that the BJP was trying to split the Congress.
It is worth mentioning that Congress had seat adjustments with the Gupkar Alliance during the recent local body elections.
Accusing the present central leadership of the Congress of being “intolerant” towards criticism, Azad said the then PM and party leader Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded her, always welcomed dissent and did not consider it an offense.
Azad has also been stressing organisational elections for the AICC.