Jammu: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday launched a veiled attack on Congress leaders and said he gave sweat and blood for the party unlike those who are spreading “falsehood” through social media.
Azad, however, was all praise for National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and said he displayed statesmanship while making a comment on his exit from the grand old party.
Azad, 73, ended his five-decade-long association with the Congress on August 26, terming the party “comprehensively destroyed”. He had lashed out at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for “demolishing” the party’s entire consultative mechanism.
“The people who want to defame me have their reach only on Twitter or computer, propagating falsehood through SMS, which is the main reason why Congress has vanished from the ground,” Azad said in an apparent reference to Congress leaders.
He was speaking at his first public meeting in Jammu after resigning from the basic membership of the party.
“I am not like the one who is sitting at his home in Delhi and spreading falsehood. I was always linked to the ground and have spent time at the homes of panches and sarpanches (during campaigning),” the veteran leader said without naming any Congress leader.
Referring to the arrest of former prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1977, Azad said he led around 5,000 youth Congress activists to protest against it and was jailed for several months because he refused to come out on bond.
“Today, I am seeing Congress workers contacting the director general of police and police commissioners on the phone before going to jail and seeking release within an hour. This is one of the reasons Congress is not moving forward, he said.
Azad said he had sympathy for the Congress leadership because the party was not formed on computer and Twitter and propagating “falsehood against us through SMS”. “The Congress was strong because of our sweat and blood.”
“I pray to Allah that let them have their tweet and kinghood while keeping us among the people,” he said amid thunderous applause from his supporters who came from different parts of Jammu including far flung areas to hear him.
Thanking people for supporting his decision, Azad said if he reads all the messages of support he has received, then he has to spend a year in a cave.
The former chief minister said he rendered his services to the Congress for 53 years, holding various positions including that of Union minister and chief minister of J-K.
“The love I have received today is my power. Today I am nobody but you have resigned from Congress and other parties in my support to strengthen my hands. It is impossible to go through all the messages but I want to thank everyone in J-K, Ladakh and different parts of the country who supported my decision,” he said.
Hailing NC leader Farooq Abdullah for his remarks on his exit from the Congress, he said, “Abdullah is a political rival and we enjoyed a love-hate relationship with each other over the decades. Maybe, we fight (elections) against each other but the leader is the one who is not frightened of a fight.”
“He showed statesmanship by praising my decision. In a democracy, everyone has a right to form a party, join a party of his choice,” Azad said.