Ghulam Nabi Azad launches Democratic Azad Party in J&K

Ghulam Nabi Azad. Photo: PTI

Jammu: Launching his Democratic Azad Party here on Monday, former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he will not make the restoration of Article 370 an election issue in Jammu and Kashmir.

Issues of roads, water supply and price rise are meant for elections. "I don't stop anybody from making any thing an election issue. I have a lot of things, why should I make it an election issue," he asked.

Replying to a question about Kashmir-centric parties, particularly the PDP, criticising his remarks on Article 370, Azad said, "You just check Parliament records of who has spoken or who has not (on Article 370). Get the record of Parliament on any one's name. But my take is simple that I don't use such issues for elections."

Azad was addressing a press conference here after launching his party. "I am launching Democratic Azad Party (DAP) from here today. It symbolises democracy and freedom of speech and thought. Our ideology will be based on the ideals of Mahatama Gandhi," he said.

He said the DAP will have "no competition" with any other political party and it will focus on "strengthening" peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Azad added that he has never said restoration of Article 370 was not possible. "I never said this cannot happen. I said that I cannot convince Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji. If anyone can persuade Modi-ji and Union Home Minister Amit Shah-ji, they should do it. It will be a welcome step. I do not have any such influence on Modi-ji," Azad said.

He said only Parliament can restore Article 370 but "we need a majority". "When voting took place in Parliament by Modi-ji and Amit Shah-ji, they got 86 per cent votes," Azad added.

By abrogating Article 370, the central government had revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has agreed to list after Dussehra vacation the pleas challenging the decision.

Azad said it was a welcome step that the Supreme Court will be hearing the case from October 10.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister had ended his more than five-decade-long association with the Congress on August 26. Over two dozen prominent Congress leaders, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, had resigned from the Congress in support of Azad.


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