Azad seeks azadi from electioneering

Srinagar: Union health minister and former Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad has refused to campaign in central and north Kashmir for coalition candidates, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Sharif-ud-Din Shariq.
People close to Azad said the former Chief Minister had personal relations with Karra family and Muzaffar Husain Baig. “It will not be proper for him to campaign against them,” they said. Azad, it may be mentioned, had resisted recall of his deputy Chief Minister Baig by Mufti Muhammad Sayed when he headed the PDP-Congress coalition government.
It has been reliably learnt that Omar and Farooq tried their best to persuade Azad to campaign for Farooq and Shariq contesting from Srinagar-Budgam and Baramulla-Kupwara constituencies respectively.
It has also come to fore that Azad was enraged by reports from Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi where NC workers supported and voted for the PDP and BJP candidates.
Giving vent to his anger in a South Kashmir function, Azad hinted at going to assembly polls alone. He said : “This time I am seeking votes for the coalition candidate but when I return for assembly elections, I shall ask for votes in favour of Congress.”
Both Omar and Farooq feel dismayed over the statement. Efforts to woo Azad are on, sources said but a reluctant Azad is not interested.
Political experts believe Congress opted for the alliance for Lok Sabha polls because it needed support from its coalition partner to form the government at New Delhi. The alliance, however, has not gone down well with the Congress workers. They believe the alliance has caused extensive damage to the Congress. Many of them supported and voted for PDP and BJP candidates.