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Congress leaders demand Soz’s resignation over J-K poll debacle

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 STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In what could be seen as signs of rebellion within Congress’ State unit, some party leaders have sought the resignation of Jammu and Kashmir Congress President Prof Saif-ud-din Soz on grounds of party’s drubbing in the recently-concluded Assembly elections.
A joint statement, issued by some Congress leaders and former ministers led by JKPCC Vice President Janak Raj Gupta, reads that Soz should have owned moral responsibility for the party’s drubbing in the Assembly polls and resigned from his post.
They believe that Soz’s resignation will pave way for a new State Congress Chief who will be able to revive and strengthen the party unit in the State.
Among the 21 leaders, who attended the meeting where the joint statement was issued asking Soz to step down, are former Ministers Abdul Gani Vakil, Prem Sagar Aziz, Dr Manohar Lal, Yogesh Sawhney, Dr Ramesh Sharma and Haji Nisar Ali.
This faction of party leaders, supposed to be close to former J-K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, also criticised Soz for setting up two committees in the State for starting membership drive and demanded its dissolution.
They said that instead of setting up these committees the leadership should have identified reasons for the party’s poll debacle.
Soz had last week setup two committees in Jammu and Kashmir for initiating membership drive from next month.
This faction led by Gupta had, however, faced ire of the central leadership including Congress President Sonia Gandhi as some of the leaders had opposed the party’s official candidates during electioneering.
The party faced the worst drubbing and a virtual rout from Jammu region particularly in Chenab Valley, which is also the home turf of Azad. Congress had five out of the six seats in Chenab Valley but bitterly lost to BJP which took four out of six seats in the recent elections.
Other signatories to the joint statement against Soz include Arvinder Singh Micky Ex Vice Chairman Legislative Council and General Secretaries PCC, Balwan Singh, Vinod Mishra Darshan Raina and Ashok Sharma, besides Secretaries Hira Lal Abrol, Pawan Raina and Naresh Sharma.
Those who have resolved against Soz also include Naresh Gupta MLC and District President Doda, Subash Gupta Ex MLC and District President Kathua, Jahanghir Mir MLC, Ch. Zafarullah District President Mendhar, Haji Ali Mohammad Bhat Ex MLC, Senior Congress leader from Bijbehara Manzoor Ahmad Ganai and Ch. Masood of Darhal.

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