SRINAGAR: Months after they broke the glass ceiling and attempted to create history by launching a brand-new political party, the Congress has opened doors to some of the rebels. Happening in anticipation of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entry into Jammu and Kashmir, the decision was a natural consequence of Tara Chand publicly admitting that his desertion of Congress was a “blunder”.
“The Congress gave me a mandate, made me Congress legislative party leader, speaker and deputy chief minister,” a remorseful Tara Chand said. “We repent our decision today as we feel we betrayed our party, while DAP betrayed us.”
Tara Chand was one of the scores of Congressmen who left Congress and joined Ghulam Nabi Azad, after the latter quit Congress. There was so huge migration to Azad’s Democratic Azad Party (DAP) that Congress admitted it was hollowed from the inside. However. Last week, Azad expelled Tara Chand, Manohar Lal Sharma and Balwan Singh – all former lawmakers. They were accused of “anti-party activities” and hobnobbing with Congress.
Days after the expulsion, the trio came out and spoke to the media in Jammu.
“The decision of the DAP to expel us without any reason or justification came as a big surprise to us. Today, we feel that our decision to resign from the Congress in support of Azad was a blunder,” Chand asserted in presence of the two other lawmakers. “We are secular and will die as a secular.”
Tasking at dig at Azad, Tara Chand said he is telling people that Article 370 can not be restored. “We want to tell him that nothing is impossible. It is the popular demand of both regions and we appeal to the Prime Minister to accept this demand and restore our identity.”
Tara Chand indicated that “many more leaders from Kashmir including former ministers and legislators from DAP and others are joining our group to strengthen the secular vote bank and work for the restoration of the people’s rights including the special status under Article 370 of the constitution.”
Tara Chand asserted that Jammu and Kashmir has leaders who are “misleading the public” and “dividing the secular votes to benefit one particular party.” He said that the leaders inclined towards BJP or Congress or any other party should join any of these parties without hoodwinking the public. “We will not betray the public and we won’t play as an ‘A’ or ‘B’ team of any party. We will meet the public and after their consultation, will join a party which is secular and going to form the next government in Jammu and Kashmir,” he insisted, while claiming that his expulsion led to the voluntary exit of more people from Azad’s new party.
It was time for jubilation in Congress that had been literally hollowed by the chain exits late last year. Congress’s Jammu and Kashmir president, Vikar Rasool Wani – an erstwhile Azad buddy, said the DAP was collapsing under its own eight. Insisting that erstwhile Congressmen are secular-minded and can not live in a “branch of BJP, Vikar said: “Our party’s doors are open for them and a decision to re-induct them into the Congress will be taken at an appropriate time.”
Vikar has reiterated that DAP creation was aimed at dividing the “secular votes and help the BJP.”