Putting all speculations to rest, the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday urged the party workers not to pay heed to the latest political grapevine, doing the rounds of corridors of power, that he is going to occupy the chair of Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir in the near future.
Addressing a gathering of party workers on the occasion of the first foundation day of the party in Jawahar Nagar Municipal Park, Srinagar, Azad made it clear he is not interested in becoming the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir.
Azad said he is not looking for employment but wanted to serve the people of J&K.
“I will request people not to trust the rumour mills which are working in overdrive…. There is a fresh rumour here that Ghulam Nabi Azad is going to be the next LG. “I have not come (to J&K) looking for a job, I want to serve the people”, he added. Azad observed some people were trying to give the impression that he is looking for rehabilitation.
“When I came here in 2005 (as Chief Minister), I left two prized (Union) Ministries — Housing and Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs — to serve the people. It was not as if I was without work,” he said, referring to criticism by some quarters that he returned to J&K politics at the behest of the BJP. Azad, who remained vocal on the issue of the Abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A, once again observed in front of the mass gathering that it was a “great mistake”.
“There were some political mistakes over many years which have pushed the State backwards, instead of going forward. In the last nine years, another great mistake was made — Article 370 and Article 35A were removed.
“Article 35A, subsequently Article 35B, was not promulgated after Independence. It was brought by the Maharaja (Hari Singh) in 1925. I said this in Parliament that had the BJP known that they would not have touched Article 370 and Article 35A. This mistake pushed us further back. There was an uncertainty whether the land will stay with us or not,” he added.
The foundation day function in Srinagar was largely attended by the Kashmir-based leaders barring a few close aides of Azad from the Jammu region. After launching his political outfit in Jammu & Kashmir, Azad is concentrating on both the regions of Jammu & Kashmir to consolidate his support base ahead of the maiden Assembly polls.
Several former Congress leaders joined his bandwagon after quitting the Congress party.
Acknowledging the hard work done by his party workers in the last year of its existence, Azad on Sunday patted their back claiming his party has emerged as a ‘political alternative’ in a span of 12 months.