Jammu, Jan 6: Hardly four months after having deserted Congress to join the former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Democratic Azad Party (DAP), former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and ex-Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Chief Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed along with 15 other leaders rejoined it (Congress) on Friday.
“It’s a homecoming for us,” stated these leaders in a press conference after they rejoined the party at the Congress headquarter in the union capital in the presence of MP Rajya Sabha and AICC general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal, MP and in-charge J&K affairs Rajni Patil; JKPCC president Vikar Rasool and working president Raman Bhalla among others.
Besides Tara Chand and Peerzada, prominent among those returned to the Congress fold today also included senior leaders Balwan Singh, advocate Muzaffar Parray, Jammu Bar Association president Mohinder Bhardwaj, Narendra Sharma and Naresh Sharma.
Once counted among the most trusted lieutenants of Azad, former Deputy Chief Minister, while responding to media queries, said that they were rectifying their mistake (leaving Congress) which they made as “they were carried away by the friendship and loyalty towards the former Chief Minister (Azad).”
“I’m born a Congressman and have worked throughout my life strengthening this secular formation. Now after homecoming, we will again work to strengthen secular forces in J&K,” he said. With regard to a query about Azad, he said that only he could tell why he left Congress.
Venugopal described their return to Congress-fold as a “big moment for the party before Bharat Jodo Yatra.” “Yatra would enter J&K after two weeks where mainstream tall leaders and three former Chief Ministers viz., Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti too would join it. We are happy that those who have left us are back home at this big moment to fight against divisive forces with our leader Rahul Gandhi,” he said. Regarding the possibility of Azad’s homecoming, he said that he (Azad) himself had answered this question. Azad had dismissed all these reports as rumours spread by his detractors in his previous party.
Congress general secretary in-charge Communication Jairam Ramesh, while reacting to their rejoining, said, “They have returned after availing two months’ leave.”
On December 22, Azad, in his capacity as chairman of Democratic Azad Party (DAP) had expelled Tara Chand, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma and Balwan Singh for anti-party activities.
They had joined Azad on September 4, when he had floated his political outfit in a public rally in Jammu.
DAP leaders, however, stated that their desertion would have no bearing on their party as those deserted had already lost the status of “leaders of masses” besides they were creating hurdles in infusing young blood in the party (DAP).