Former Congress leader and current president of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad has asserted that the notion of his party being the BJP’s ‘B-Team’ in Jammu and Kashmir is nonsense. In a conversation with The Hindu, Azad spoke about his close association with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, his book Azaad, and his priority to restore statehood in J&K.
Azad described his relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a great listener and noted that he was exceptionally calm even when the leader of the opposition (LoP) reprimanded him. Azad wrote in his autobiography Azaad that Modi never personally attacked him and that he believed the prime minister respected him.
Azad, who ended his five-decade-long association with the Congress Party to found his own DPAP last year, refused to categorically rule out a possible post-poll alliance with any other party, including the BJP. The former Chief Minister of J&K averred that his primary focus was to restore the statehood of J&K and reserve employment and land for only the locals.
Azad also responded to criticism that the BJP had allowed him to stay in his Lutyens Delhi bungalow even two years after he retired from the Rajya Sabha in February 2021, while providing an eviction notice to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi within days of his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. He stated that there had been 26 attempts on his life while he was J&K Chief Minister and that he had been advised to reside in a refuge of secure walls.
The former Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism also commented on the restoration of the J&K’s special status under Article 370, expressing that no State Government can restore it and that it must be done by the national Government or through a Supreme Court hearing.
The Democratic Progressive Azad Party was founded by Ghulam Nabi Azad and his close associates. Its mission is to restore statehood in Jammu and Kashmir, reserve land and employment only for the locals, and bring a new dimension to the Kashmiri politics. The party stands for peaceful dialogue, inclusivity, and progress. They have emphasised the need for all-embracing, sustainable and holistic development in J&K and that the restoration of statehood is the first crucial step in the process.