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Sons overtake fathers in Congress, but the party remains a family business

In J&K Congress, sons are doing what fathers failed to do throughout the party’s existence in the state.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 14, 2012, 10.32 PM IST
SRINAGAR: In J&K Congress, sons are doing what fathers failed to do throughout the party’s existence in the state. Last month, the faction ridden party’s delegates authorized Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi to appoint their state president.

This month, the youth Congress elected their leaders through an apparently fair party election.

“Since the delegates have been nominated by the leaders, they can not elect their leader,” Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters when asked about why the system of nomination continues in the party that is avowed first claimant to the democracy. “Unless the process is not democratized at the ground level, we can not avail that option.”

But it is an altogether different in the Pradesh Youth Congress (PYC). It elected its state leader and district presidents through a party election that nobody has disputed so far. Of the 4904 votes, Poonch’s Mohammad Shahnawaz Chaudhary polled 1555 votes and became the state president. His rival Pranab Shargotra bagged 1458 votes and became his Deputy. So were the party’s district leaders.

This was the first election in PYC in its history. It was resurrected a few years back when Rahul Gandhi sought applications for party position, interviewed the candidates and appointed Shoiab Lone, son of a slain minister Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, as PYC chief. He was succeeded by Choudhary last week.

But what is interesting is that Congress continues to be the exclusive domain of the same people – fathers serving the party and the sons, nephews and sons-in-law making the youth wing. It is a literal ‘sonrise’. Most of the office bearers making the PYC are kins of the lawmakers and party leaders. Quite a few form the ‘baptized’ lot as ‘converts’ take time to rise the ranks.

PYC chief is nephew of two Congress leaders Chowdhary Mohammed Aslam and

Abdul Gani Kohli. Interestingly, Kohli’s son Wasim was elected from Kalakote. Choudhary’s deputy Pranav is son of Congress aided trade union INTUC’s president Shiv Kumar Sharma. PYCs general secretary R S Pathania is the son of Congress’s former district president Bhupinder Singh Pathania.

From Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, Pankaj Basotra won defeating Amir Sohail Saroori. Winner is son of PCC secretary Hukum Chand Basotra and the loser is former minister G M Saroori.

Satish Sharma who was elected president of Jammu constituency is the son of MP Madan Lal Sharma.

Srinagar PYC will be led by Sheikh Amir Rasool, the son Congress’s ex-MLC Sheikh Ghulam Rasool. Anantnag will have lawmaker G A Mir’s son Naseer as the new leader. In Kargil, it will be Reyaz Khan who will lead the Congress. He is son of Congressman Mohammed Ali Khan.

Others with Congress pedigree include Nadim Sharif, son of MLA Bhaderwah and former minister M Sharief Niaz, Jatinder Singh Chib, nephew of Congress Labour Cell president Hari Singh Chib who son Uday Chib is NSUI president.

Imtiaz Parray, son of founder of anti-militant Ikhwan cult Kukka Parray, is perhaps the only non-Congress name in the list.

Interestingly, Mehboob Azad, the nephew of Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was in fray initially for the top PYC slot but he backed out later. Azad is not comfortable with some of his brothers. Prof Soz, the current PCC president has two sons and neither of them is apparently interested in politics.

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