Rajouri, Sep 7: With the exit of Ghulam Nabi Azad from Congress, the party has faced a strong setback in Rajouri and Poonch districts as several prominent leaders have sided with Azad camp, changing the political landscape in Pirpanjal region.
Congress, which was once a strong force in the two mountainous districts, enjoyed considerable support in Poonch and Surankote assembly constituencies of Poonch Manjakote, Darhal and Kalakote assembly constituencies of Rajouri.
The party, however, faced its first blow in 2018-19 when its leader Mohammad Iqbal Malik from Rajouri’s Darhal joined BJP and won DDC elections. While the rest cadre of the party was intact except another joining that took place in June this year when DDC member from Thanamandi, Abdul Qayoom Mir joined BJP.
However, Congress was having a good strength of cadre in Rajouri and Poonch districts with every assembly constituency represented by leaders including former legislator Ashok Sharma and Ravinder Sharma from Kalakote Sunderbani area, Rajendra Sharma from Nowshera, Shabir Ahmed Khan from Rajouri, Masood Chowdhary from Kotranka Darhal, Zahid Malik from Darhal, DDC member Sain Abdul Rashid from Rajouri’s Thanamandi.
Similarly, in Poonch the party was having former MLA Chowdhary Akram from Surankote along with DDC member Shahnawaz Chowdhary, DDC member Chowdhary Imran Zaffar from Mendhar and Chowdhary Abdul Ghani, Riyaz Bashir Naaz from Poonch.
But majority of them switched over to Azad camp leaving the fate of congress open to guesses.
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