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Sacked from DAP, where are Tara, Manohar, Balwan headed to

JAMMU: In a significant political development, the Democratic Azad Party (DAP) has expelled three of its senior members for ‘anti-party activities’ on Thursday evening.

The expulsion of Tara Chand, Dr Manohar Lal and Balwan Singh by DAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad has taken the political circles in Jammu and Kashmir by surprise even as speculations are rife as to where the trio is headed.

Speaking to The Dispatch, Tara Chand said that the three leaders never wanted to join Democratic Azad Party in the first place, and will now be going back to the Congress fold.

“Azad had issues with the Congress and we advised him to resolve them. However, things soon reached a tipping point and Azad floated his own party. We have a very strong, emotional bond with him, which we didn’t want to sever and hence joined DAP,” said the former deputy chief minister.

However, Tara Chand told The Dispatch, we soon realised that the DAP was nothing more than an interim measure, far from a political alternative that Azad claimed it was.

“The DAP is nothing more than an interim measure, a pressure tactic by Azad to negotiate terms with Congress. We saw this up and close. DAP is a non-operative political party,” he added.

When asked where the three leaders are headed to, Tara Chand said, “We are secular people, our workers are secular people. Our place is in congress. We were going to join the Congress in the next couple of days. As soon as Azad became aware, he expelled us.”

“We are not only three. There is a large group of people, who have realised and soon, they will be leaving DAP for better,” claimed Tara Chand.

However, reacting to the development, a top leader in Bharatiya Janata Party confirmed to The Dispatch that Manohar Lal is in touch with the party leadership and will be joining the BJP soon.

When asked, Tara Chand denied.

“We are together. I, Manohar (Lal) and Balwan (Singh). We are committed to return to Congress and we are not the only ones,” he reiterated.

R S Chib, DAP General Secretary told The Dispatch that their departure will have no impact on the DAP.

“Right from the beginning, Tara Chand and Balwan Singh were exerting pressure on the party leadership to tailor party organisation according to their own taste and requirements in Jammu district.

“But then Azad is a leader of high-stature and he has to run the party on the state level. He was not in a position to accommodate their desires on an everyday basis. They had serious objections to the entry of some people and wanted to install some other people. They were very choosy about who should be in the party and who should not be in the party, and at what position” Chib informed.
The Dispatch learnt that Tara Chand had objected to the appointment of G M Saroori as one of the vice-chairmen of the party on Saturday, asserting that Chenab Valley was a part of Jammu division and a separate vice-chairman for it was not needed.

Azad had appointed Tara Chand, Saroori and Peerzada Mohd Sayeed as the vice-chairmen of the party while Manohar Lal and Balwan Singh were appointed as General Secretaries on December 17.

It is also learnt that a number of party leaders called on Azad in Jammu earlier this week and apprised him of the situation, urging him to take a decision on the three leaders. On Thursday, Azad decided to expel them.

The Dispatch asked another senior DAP leader if the leaders were indeed returning to Congress, who denied the possibility, saying that was certainly not an option before them.

“I have been their colleague for a very long time and their returning to Congress is not an option. They have already burnt their bridges with the Congress,” he said.

Further, when asked about the possibility of the leaders joining the BJP, he said that they are not headed to any other party.

“These three leaders don’t have a place to go at the moment, neither do they want to join any other party. Their expulsion will trigger renegotiation of their terms of engagement in the DAP. These leaders will be returning to DAP in a week or so,” he said.

The Democratic Azad Party is a three month-old party announced in the last week of September this year, by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad a month after he resigned from Congress. A number of other congressmen also resigned from the basic membership of the Congress party in support of Azad.  Tara Chand, former deputy chief of Jammu and Kashmir, former ministers Manohar Lal Sharma and Balwan Singh, were among 64 others who had jointly resigned from the Congress party to join Azad.



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