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Monday, Dec 05, 2022

Won’t mislead on 370… party in 10 days, will be azad: Ghulam Nabi Azad in Valley

Saying there were “efforts to call me a BJP man”, Azad said he would launch his party “in 10 days” and it would be “azad” (free) and would not “join or merge with any other party”.

Ghulam Nabi Azad at a public meeting in Baramulla, Sunday.

ADDRESSING HIS first public rally in the Valley after leaving the Congress last month, Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said he would not “mislead” people on the issue of Article 370, as only a party with two-thirds majority in Parliament could ensure its restoration. “I don’t see the Congress getting 350-360 seats in my lifetime,” he said.

For the most part of his 40-minute speech in Baramulla, Azad sought to address the allegations against him – from his alleged proximity with the BJP leadership to his silence on Article 370.

Saying there were “efforts to call me a BJP man”, Azad said he would launch his party “in 10 days” and it would be “azad” (free) and would not “join or merge with any other party”.

While targeting the Congress, Azad said at least the “BJP, CPI(M) or any other party” respect “my humanity, my honesty and my work”.

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“There would be three things on my agenda: struggle for statehood, sole land and job rights for the people of J&K, and development,” Azad said.

“They (his critics) say that you don’t talk much on Article 370. Ghulam Nabi Azad doesn’t mislead people for votes. I would tell them not to raise a slogan that is not in my hands or their hands. To restore Article 370, you should have two-thirds majority in Parliament. That is around 350 seats out of 550 in Parliament… I don’t see the Congress getting 350-360 seats in my lifetime… Now tell me who is lying, me or them,” he said.

Azad began his speech by reminding people of his tenure as chief minister, and his government’s action against police personnel in the 2007 fake encounter case – some civilians were killed in a fake encounter and labelled as unidentified Pakistani militants.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses the public meeting in Baramulla on Sunday.

“It was because of that (action) that there was no fake encounter for 12 years,” Azad said. “We fought against militancy but, at the same time, we didn’t allow human rights violations”.

“There have been efforts to call me a BJP man. Ghulam Nabi Azad is an azad (free) man. Ghulam Nabi is Ghulam-e-Nabi — slave of the prophet. No power on earth can buy him,” he said. “My party would be azad (free). It would be independent, it would have an independent ideology. It will not join or merge with any other party. That can happen only after my death,” he said.

With his critics raising Modi’s emotional address at Azad’s Rajya Sabha farewell last year to allege his proximity to the BJP leadership, the former Congress leader said: “I will not speak against any leader, whether he is from a national party or a regional party. All of them are my friends.”

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“They (critics) will say he wept or she wept, a human being weeps… When militants killed Gujarat tourists (in 2006),.. Modi sahib was the Gujarat chief minister then. He called me 10 times, and my PA told him that Azad sahib is weeping and can’t talk… I was crying when Modi sahib’s phone came again. I talked to him while crying and that’s why he talked about it (in Parliament),” he said.

“The Congress leaders who say I am a BJP man never asked why that incident happened, because they don’t have a heart. They use and throw,” he said. “At least the opposition, against whom I have spoken since my school and college days, respect my humanity, my honesty and my work – be they from BJP, CPM or any other party… If you don’t do it yourself, at least welcome the respect given by others”.

Saying that Subhas Chandra Bose had raised the slogan “give me blood, I will give you freedom”, Azad said: “But I only ask for your support. I will say give me your support, and I will give my blood for you… Efforts are being made to create a wedge between me and you, but you will have to accept me in every shape.”

First published on: 11-09-2022 at 02:05:01 pm
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