Factionalism in Kashmir Congress as Sonia visits
Jammu: After going into a huddle overnight in separate places, two rival factions of the Congress, the junior partner in Jammu and Kashmir`s ruling coalition, headed for Basholi where party chief Sonia Gandhi lays the foundation of a river bridge Monday.
The leaders of both the factions - state Congress president Saifuddin Soz and union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad - failed to sink their differences ahead of Gandhi`s visit, sources said.
Soz and his loyalists in the party and government, including Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma and Medical Education Minister R.S. Chib, spent Sunday night in Pathankote in Punjab.
"Soz and his loyalists were chalking out a strategy on how to project the success of the party under his leadership before Sonia," a Congress leader told reporters.
A counter-strategy was being chalked out by loyalists of Azad, according to sources close to them. They were in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Azad camp is of the view that Congress could have put up a better performance in the state panchayat elections had Soz acted in a non-partisan manner. It says Soz loyalists put up candidates against those fielded by the Azad camp, making the party suffer.
"At places, Soz loyalists shook hands with opposition parties to defeat our candidates," a senior Congress minister told reporters. "We are going to say that to the party national leadership," the minister said.
Sonia Gandhi will lay the foundation of a bridge across river Ravi in Basholi that would connect the state to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
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