Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said that only Congress could challenge Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is "merely a party of UT Delhi".
Months after exiting the decades-long association with the Congress party, Mr Azad said that he was not against its policy of secularism, but its weak party system.
While talking to ANI at Srinagar, he said, "Although I have separated from Congress, I wasn't against their policy of secularism. It was only due to the party's system getting weakened. I would still want Congress to perform well in Gujarat and HP Assembly polls. AAP isn't capable to do so."
Exuding confidence in the Congress, he said that the party takes a long everybody, Hindu, and Muslim farmers. He said that Aam Aadmi Party can't do anything in these states, they have failed in Punjab and the people of Punjab will not vote for them again.
In a scathing attack on Aam Aadmi Party, Mr Azad said that it is " AAP is merely a party of UT Delhi. They can't run Punjab efficiently, only Congress can challenge BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh as they have an inclusive policy."
On Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman hinting at the Centre thinking of restoring State status to J&K, he said that he had taken this issue many times and if Centre Government will do that's a welcome step.
Ghulam Nabi Azad is on a tour of Doda where he will be meeting many delegations and addressing many rallies in the coming days.
Earlier on August 26, Mr Azad quit the 52-years-long association with the Congress party. While in October, Azad announced his new political outfit 'Democratic Azad Party'.
In his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, he had targeted party leadership, particularly Rahul Gandhi, over the way the party has been run in the past nearly nine years.
In the hard-hitting five-page letter, Mr Azad had claimed that a coterie runs the party while Sonia Gandhi was just "a nominal head" and all the major decisions were taken by "Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs".
He was earlier the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Recounting his long association with the Congress, Azad had said the situation in the party has reached a point of "no return."
While Mr Azad took potshots at Sonia Gandhi in the letter, his sharpest attack was on Rahul Gandhi and he described the Wayand MP as a "non-serious individual" and "immature".
The elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will take place on December 8.
The BJP has won six consecutive assembly polls in Gujarat. The Congress is keen to take an early decision on candidates to give them more time for campaigning and is seeking to bolster its campaign through yatras.
Unlike previous elections, this year Aam Aadmi Party is also fighting the election with full might, led by Delhi Chief Minister and AAP National convener Arvind Kejriwal, which has made it a triangular contest.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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