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Encounter

Kashmir CM likely to be called back to New Delhi

Haroon Mirani

Srinagar, June 21, 2008:

Chief Minister of Indian administered Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad who heads the Congress led coalition government is likely to be recalled to New Delhi for strengthening the party high command, a senior party leader said Saturday.

Federal minister of Textiles and Senior Congress leader Shankar Singh Wagheli today said that the services of Azad are being missed at New Delhi.

"We are missing Azad at New Delhi very much," said Waghela inaugurating the Craft Development Institute and Indian Institute of Carpet Technology at Srinagar, summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

Waghela said that Azad could have achieved heights of success had he been at New Delhi. "Azad would have been a minister of Home or even Defence of entire country there was no limit," he said. "He could have done big works but for the benefit of Kashmir he had to come here and serve the people of the state."

Waghela also said that at the time Azad came to Kashmir to become its first Congress Chief Minister of 30 years, many party leaders were not happy. "We never wanted him to come here," revealed Waghela.

This is the first time a senior Congress leader has openly expressed the desire for Azad after his unceremonious exit from 'Delhi Durbar' in 2005.

Much against his wishes Azad was literally pushed to become Chief Minister of Kashmir in 2005 after he became victim of 'palace politics' in New Delhi.

Azad was one of the most successful general secretaries in Congress party and he had been responsible for taking the tally of Congress ruled states to 14 by April 2004.

With his enormous success and lucky mascot status for Congress, a number of his rival Congress leaders lobbied hard to ensure his drive to Kashmir.

According to sources after Karnataka defeat Congressmen have begun missing his skills and services.

Azad was also recently inducted into seven-member panel, headed by Indian Defence Minister A K Antony that was constituted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to suggest ways of revitalising the party organization across India.

Azad is the only chief ministerial member of the committee, furthering his chance to get back to New Delhi.

Azad's inclusion is being treated as most significant as it is a clear admission of his organisational skills, which the party is missing, as it continues to hop from one defeat to another.

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