Cong Elects Azad As J&K CM, Baig To Be His Deputy
30 October 2005
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: The Congress on Sunday elected Ghulam Nabi Azad as the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister designate, while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) picked Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig as his deputy in a bid to end internal squabbles. Congress general secretary Ambika Soni told reporters after a meeting of the party legislators that Azad was 'unanimously elected the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Legislature Party'. Azad later said: 'The peace process between India and Pakistan shall continue and (will) be further strengthened.' He also appealed to parties and people outside the mainstream politics to join the democratic process. Talking to media persons, Azad thanked outgoing Chief Minister Mufti Muhammed Sayeed and said: 'I am confident that the PDP, CPI-M, Panthers' Party, People's Democratic Front (PDF) and other independents who form our alliance shall continue to strengthen the hands of the coalition government.' Azad said he would do his best to make a difference in the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He reiterated that the 'Healing Touch Policy' followed by the outgoing Chief Minister would continue. Azad said he was now facing the biggest challenge of his political career and would employ his experience of 28 years to rise up to the expectations of the people and his party. Later in the day, Azad would call on Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Lt Gen, (retired) SK Sinha, at the Raj Bhawan to stake his claim for forming the government. He would be sworn in Srinagar on November 2.