Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday hinted at taking retirement from politics and be more actively involved in social service. He also said that he had serious reservations about the ability of political parties to bring about real transformation and civil society has an important role to play in difficult times.
While addressing members of civil society at an event, Azad said, “Humko ek samaj mein badlaav lana hai. Kabhi kabhi mein sochta hoon, aur koi badi baat nahi ki, achanak aap samjey ki hum retire ho gaye aur samaj seva mein lag gaye.”(We have to bring about a change in the society. Sometimes I think, and it is not a big deal that suddenly you come to know that I have retired and started doing social service).
In an apparent reference to ‘The Kashmir Files’, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir was affected by the over three-decade long Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. He said linking terrorism to a particular religion is “absolutely wrong”.
Azad said that 90 per cent of the evils in the society are because of the politicians who divide the people for their vote bank, and expressed doubts whether any political can bring a change. He asked the civil society to take a lead and mobilise people against injustice or oppression.
The former JK Chief Minister said that the emergence of Jammu as a cosmopolitan city was the only positive of the impact of violence. “Jammu is the only place where the people of all the 22 districts of J&K and Ladakh are residing,” he said, adding Kashmir has no such advantage even as it maintained its secular credentials despite militancy.
Azad said that over the past 47 years of his political career, he had delivered over 1.5 lakh public speeches but “I will not deliver a political speech today because the politics in the country has downgraded so much, I am forced to think whether we are humans.”
Remembering the Mahatma Gandhi, Azad said, “a true follower of a religion is the biggest secular like Gandhi, while a pretender is very dangerous”.
He also warned people against politicians’ divisive rhetoric. “The civil society should own responsibility and counter the narrative of the political parties, whether my party or any other party, who are involved in dividing people 24×7. I am not going to forgive anyone. You have to lead and guide the people and let them decide whom to vote for,” he said.
He invoked the Kathua rape incident as an example of the country’s unity, saying everyone demanded justice for the girl irrespective of their religion.
The Congress leader also gave a piece of his mind on the recently concluded Punjab election, saying that SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, 95, should not have fought the election. Azad during his speech assured full support to the Civil Society members present at the event. “We have to work together to make J&K a paradise once again,” he said.