Article 370 cannot be restored, will not mislead people: Azad in Kashmir; Farooq reacts

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Published : Sep 11, 2022, 3:25 PM IST

Updated : Sep 11, 2022, 9:49 PM IST

Article 370 cannot be restored, will not mislead people: Ghulam Nabi Azad in Kashmir

Former Congress leader and ex-J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad has made a huge statement on Article 370 restoration in a rally in Kashmir even as he said that he will announce his new party in 10 days.

Baramulla (Kashmir): Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said that he will announce a new party in ten days even as he trashed any chances of restoration of Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state.

"Article 370 cannot be restored. Its restoration needs a two-thirds majority in parliament. I will not allow parties to exploit people in the name of 370. I will not mislead people in the name of 370. It cannot come back," he said while speaking at a public meeting at Dak Bunglow in Baramulla in north Kashmir.

Article 370 cannot be restored, will not mislead people: Ghulam Nabi Azad in Kashmir

"The political exploitation has killed one lakh people in Kashmir and orphaned five lakh children. I will not seek votes on falsehood and exploitation. I will speak only what's achievable even if it hurts me in elections," he said, targeting local parties.

Azad said he will announce a new party in 10 days and asked for people's support for restoration of statehood, protection of jobs and land for local residents of Jammu and Kashmir. "I thank my colleagues who stand with me and are the base of my new party which, God willing, will be announced within the next 10 days," Azad said addressing his maiden public rally in the Kashmir Valley after resigning from the Congress on August 26.

Azad said his new party will be 'Azad' (independent), like his name, in its ideology and thinking. "My party will be Azad. Many of my colleagues said we should name the party as Azad. But, I said never. But, it's ideology will be independent, which will not join or merge with any other. That may happen after my death, but not till then," he said.

The former leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha said the emphasis will be to struggle for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir's statehood and protection of job and land rights of its people. "My party will be development-oriented. Its agenda will be to give employment opportunities to the people," he added, as he reminded people of his developmental works when he was the chief minister of J-K.

Also read: Congress fired missiles on me, I retaliated with 303 rifle : Azad

Azad said he was not against any political party, whether national or regional. "Many people across party lines are my friends," he said. Referring to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's famous speech in which he had asked people to give him blood and in return he will give them freedom, Azad appealed the people of J-K that he will spill his blood for them if they support him. "But, I request you not to fall prey to false slogans," he said.

Farooq Abdullah reacts

Hours after Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Article 370 cannot be restored, National Conference Supremo Dr Farooq Abdullah, while speaking to ETV Bharat, said: "I don't want to comment on what Mr Azad says. Azad is his own man and he can say what he wants. Don't ask me to react on Azad." At a time when almost all the regional parties of J&K have been voicing their support for the restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 status, Azad's statement stands poles apart.

It is pertinent to note here that National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Saturday said that his party will continue fighting "democratically, constitutionally and politically" for the restoration of Article 370. "We are not on the roads or misleading the public or taking the law in our hands for restoration of Article 370. We will continue our fight democratically, constitutionally and politically and it is our right", said Omar Abdullah.

Azad, 73, ended his five-decade-long association with the Congress on August 26, terming the party "comprehensively destroyed". In his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, he had targeted party leadership, particularly Rahul Gandhi, over the way the party has been run in the past nearly nine years. In the hard-hitting five-page letter, Azad had claimed that a coterie runs the party while Sonia Gandhi was just "a nominal head" and all the major decisions were taken by "Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs".

Last Updated :Sep 11, 2022, 9:49 PM IST
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