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Ghulam Nabi Azad Announces New Party in J&K, Demands Full Statehood, Land Rights

At a rally in Jammu, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he is yet to decide a name and flag for his new party.

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Former Congress parliamentarian Ghulam Nabi Azad, while announcing a new political party at a rally in Jammu on Sunday, 4 September, said that his party would fight for full statehood, land rights, job opportunities, and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.

"I have not decided upon a name for my party yet. The people of Jammu and Kashmir will decide the name and the flag for the party. My party will focus on the restoration of full statehood, right to land. and employment to native domicile."
Ghulam Nabi Azad

"My fight for people to ensure justice to them will continue till my last breath," he said addressing the rally.

Azad, who recently broke his five-decade-long association with the Congress, while taking a jibe at the party said, "We built the Congress with our blood, not by computers, not by Twitter. People are trying to defame us but their reach is limited to computers and tweets. That is the reason Congress is nowhere to be seen on the ground."

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Azad was accorded a grand reception at the airport in Jammu, where "around 20,000 supporters of Azab sahib are expected at the public meeting," former Congress leader GM Saroori had told reporters.

Saroori is one among over two dozen leaders from the region – including one former deputy chief minister, one former MP, and eight former ministers – who quit the Congress in support of Azad."

This Is Just the Beginning, Says Azad

"We need support from each other. We have to get united and bring down the sand walls of hatred and move ahead on the path of development and prosperity together," Azad said during his over hour-long speech.

"This is just a beginning, let us see what happens next," added the leader.

He said the majority of the Congress leaders have left the party voluntarily in his support.

"All the leaders who are present (on the dias) have not asked me before sending their resignations (to the party leadership). They submitted their resignation and then informed me about it," Azad said, adding "95 percent former Congress ministers, 95 percent legislators, 99 percent District and Block Development council members from every nook and corner" are present here.

Azad quit the party on 26 August, calling it "comprehensively destroyed," as per PTI.

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He also criticised party leader Rahul Gandhi for "demolishing" the Congress' consultative mechanism.

Banners welcoming and supporting Azad dotted the route leading from the Jammu Airport road to the venue, which also has hoardings put up.

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Azad Distorting History, Says Congress

The Congress on Sunday hit back at Azad accusing him of working at the behest of his "political bosses" and said he was twisting facts in his favour to befool the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Congress General Secretary In-charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, said Azad has again made attempts to distort history in an attempt to generate an undue sympathy from the people of the Union territory.

"Ghulam Nabi Azad while continuing to fulfil his role assigned to him by his bosses today again made a blatant attempt to distort history in an attempt to generate an undue sympathy from the people of Jammu and Kashmir," Ramesh said in a statement.

Ramesh claimed Azad was lying while saying he fought first election in which he was elected to Lok Sabha on a Congress ticket on his own without help from anyone.

"This is a white lie. In 1980, he was elected as a Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra's Washim constituency, a Congress stronghold. Prior to that, he had suffered a humiliating defeat in an assembly election in his home state (Jammu and Kashmir).

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