Speaking to media in the national capital, Azad recalled a bus tragedy in which several people were killed while he was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Scores of people were killed on the spot when a grenade burst inside a Gujarat tourist bus in Jammu and Kashmir. This happened when I was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a statement.
“Prime Minister Modi was then the chief minister of Gujarat and had called me so that I could apprise him of the happening. I asked my staff to let him know that I won’t be able to speak at the moment as I had to take cognisance of the injured and deceased.”
#WATCH | “I thought PM Modi to be a crude man but he showed humanity,” says #GhulamNabiAzad(Video: ANI) https://t.co/GzYMAfUqHf
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1661759969000
Azad further added, “I thought PM Modi to be a crude man but he showed humanity”.
Earlier today, Azad also said that he was “forced” to leave the grand old party. He added, “I have been forced to leave my home.”
My doors are always open for you: PM Modi
In what appears to be a brewing friendship between the two, interestingly, PM Modi too had told Ghulam Nabi Azad during his retirement from the Rajya Sabha in February last year that BJP’s doors were always open for him.
On February 9, 2021, Modi had said, “The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as leader of the opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House.
He further added “Do not feel like you are no longer in the House. My doors are always open for you. I will need your suggestions. I will not let you retire.”
Blamed Rahul Gandhi in resignation letter
On Friday, Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned from all positions in the grand old party, including his primary membership, citing the “immaturity” of Rahul Gandhi whom he blamed for “demolishing the consultative mechanism” in the party.
Taking a dig at the Congress over his resignation, he said, “Modi is an excuse, they have had an issue with me since the G23 letter was written. They never wanted anyone to write to them, question them. Several (Congress) meetings happened, but not even a single suggestion was taken,” Azad said.
In a hard-hitting 5 page note to party interim president Sonia Gandhi, Azad had claimed that a coterie runs the party while she was just a nominal head and all the major decisions were taken by “Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs”.
Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, Azad wrote, “Since the 2019 elections the situation in the party has only worsened. After Rahul Gandhi stepped down in a ‘huff’ and not before insulting all the senior party functionaries who have given their lives to the party in a meeting of the extended working committee, you took over as interim president. A position that you have continued to hold even today for the past three years.”
Will launch my own party: Azad
Several political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday met the veteran leader, who is planning to launch a new national party, a day after tendering resignations from all posts of Congress.
“MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir are here. A few more-some senior leaders and ex-ministers-will come in the evening. Azad Sa’ab said a national party will be formed, we’ll begin from Jammu and Kashmir and the upcoming poll will be fought strongly. Don’t want to reply to comments, we’ll reply with a victory,” said former Congress leader Salman Nizami.
The meeting came within 24 hours of Azad’s resignation from all posts in Congress and it holds importance as the polls in the valley are likely to be held later this year.
(With inputs from agencies)