4 more Congress leaders, 12 AP workers resign in J&K to support Azad

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Kathua/Jammu: Four more Congress leaders, including former deputy speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Gulam Hyder Malik, and a dozen prominent workers of the Apni Party resigned from their respective parties on Monday in support of veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Azad (73), a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, ended his five-decade association with the Congress on Friday, saying the party was "comprehensively destroyed" and lashing out at Rahul Gandhi for "demolishing" its entire consultative mechanism.

Malik, a former Congress MLA from Kathua's Bani, and two former MLCs -- Subash Gupta from Kathua and Sham Lal Bhagat from Doda -- separately forwarded their resignation letters to the party high-command.

"We have received the letters (of support) from Malik, Gupta and Bhagat," Azad's close aide and former minister G M Saroori said.

General secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Maheshwar Singh Manhas also resigned from the party in support of Azad.

In a related development, 12 workers of the Apni Party from Doda, including its district president Asgar Hussain Khanday, district general secretary Virender Kumar Sharma and district vice-president (women's wing) Promila Sharma, resigned from the primary membership of the party and extended their support to Azad, who hails from Bhaderwah town in Doda.

Former Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Tara Chand, former ministers Abdul Majid Wani, Manohar Lal Sharma and Gharu Ram and former MLA Balwan Singh met Azad in Delhi and are likely to announce their loyalty to him on Tuesday after resigning from the Congress, a source said.

Over a dozen prominent Congress leaders, including former ministers and legislators, besides hundreds of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, municipal corporators and district and block-level leaders have resigned from the party to join Azad, who will soon launch a national-level political outfit from Jammu and Kashmir.

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