New Delhi: The Congress in Jammu and Kashmir is finding it difficult to keep the party leaders together. Party insiders claim that there is clash between senior and junior leaders which has given rise to resentment among several party members, thereby, rendering the cadre mostly inactive.
A former Congress legislator said, “Earlier, senior leaders kept aloof and tried to give space to the new leadership; however, their patience is wearing thin now as there is no clear agenda set for the party in the Union territory.”
National parties, BJP and Congress, are more dominant in Jammu province, while in Kashmir, there is mostly the fight between regional parties. Party insiders believe that Kashmir has become too crowded with regional parties and any emphasis to establish the ground (for Congress) will always be shaky.
Senior Congress leaders suggest the party should have chosen the president from Jammu and not from Kashmir as it would strengthen them in a place where they have high electoral prospects in several Assembly constituencies.
Moreover, a political analyst, said, “The regional parties appeal to the electorate more in Kashmir as they have originated from the same soil which has separate linguistic and cultural ties than the rest of India and also invoke Kashmiri identity if need be; thus they (voters) prefer to vote for NC, PDP or other regional parties.”
Viewing the Congress from outside, analysts based in the Union territory believe the party should avoid a chief who has electoral ambitions at this point in time. A political analyst said, “They should rather chose someone who does not have any electoral ambitions, so that funds and his energies do not get expended only into his constituency. He will be able to equally focus on the cadre and the fulcrum of activities will be fixing his party cadre.”
However, other leaders believe that Congress should gather all the leaders who were side-lined during the time of Ghulam Nabi Azad or those who were side-lined by him. A party leader said, “Those people will already be motivated to build the Congress and challenge them at a place where even the Congress office has gone shut, like in Doda.”
It is being seen that after the exit of Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party lost the direction and lost an important region of Chenab Valley in Jammu where Congress had a considerable strength. Party leaders believe that now that Azad is not in Congress, he will directly cut the votes of the grand old party in the region.
A Congress leader based in Jammu said, “Most impact Azad will have is in Chenab valley. Congress in 2008 had won 5 seats out of 6 there and in 2014, it only got reduced to two because all the Hindu votes went to the BJP en masse and secular votes got divided between National Conference and Congress. Now there are around 7 seats in the region after the delimitation. And Azad’s new outfit may be in an equal battle with Congress and NC there.”