Stating that it was Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDPs) policies which compelled its senior leadership to go for vigorous campaigning against Mehbooba Mufti in Islamabad, Congress Friday alleged PDP of repeating ‘2008 mistake’ by fielding a candidate in Udhampur Lok Sabah constituency against Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“The PDP pulled out its support from Ghulam Nabi Azad government in 2008 and it again ditched Azad in Udhampur by fielding a candidate that too from Chenab valley,” a senior Congress leader and close associate of Azad said pleading anonymity. “We had thought PDP would be remorseful for its 2008 mistake but not only Mehbooba Mufti fielded a candidate against Azad to cut Muslim votes in Udhampur but she also visited personally to campaign against Congress,” the Congress senior leader said.
Another senior Congress leader and minister in Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s cabinet said that by fielding its candidate against Azad, the PDP has supported BJP. “It is not me but even Azad has expressed it many a times without any ambiguity that PDP has helped BJP by fielding its candidate in Udhampur,” the Congress minister said.
When asked why he showed keen interest in coming openly against PDP candidate Mehbooba Mufti in Islamabad Lok Sabha constituency, Ghulam Nabi Azad told KNS on phone, “It is not the question of my interest or no interest but I have to go by the party high command’s decision. It is the party high command which makes such decisions and everybody in the party is supposed to follow these decisions.”
Recently Azad while asking people in Islamabad to vote for Coalition candidate Dr Mehboob Beg had asked PDP to shun its diplomatic policy and come clean on its political ideology. “The present Lok Sabah election is a battle between secular forces led by Rahul Gandhi and communal elements led by Narendra Modi… PDP which is nowhere at the national political scene, has preferred not to declare its allegiance to either of the two,” Azad was quoted by media while addressing election rallies in Verinag and Kokernag areas of Islamabad Parliamentary constituency on April 21.
Asked if he is scheduled to campaign for the coalition candidates in Srinagar and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies, Azad said: “I would have come there to campaign for coalition candidates in Srinagar and Baramulla but I, am busy with campaigning in Uttar Pradesh, Telengana and Himachal Pradesh.”
Meanwhile, Prof Saif-u-Din Soz, president Pradesh Congress Committee when asked to comment on the issue said: “Though the PDP had announced candidature of Arshid Malik from Udhampur before the Congress made the announcement about Azad as its candidate from Udhampur, I, had personally, presumed that PDP would withdraw its candidate because fielding him would have served no purpose for the party. But unfortunately that didn’t happen.” (KNS)