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Senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of Congress’s G23 group of ‘dissenters’, has been dropped from the party’s disciplinary action committee after president Sonia Gandhi reconstituted the panel.

Besides the former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Gandhi also dropped former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and former Arunachal Chief Minister Mukut Mithi from the committee.

According to reports, the decision on Thursday came a day after at least 20 Jammu and Kashmir Congress leaders considered close to him resigned from their party positions to press for a leadership change in the Union Territory.

News agency PTI quoted sources as saying that the leaders were not provided an opportunity to be heard on party affairs in the Union territory.

The leaders said only Azad is acceptable to them as the party’s face in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the chief ministerial candidate, not state Congress chief Gulam Ahmed Mir.

“Mir is not acceptable to us. We want Azad sahib and he should lead the party. He has sacrificed a lot for the party and this area,” former minister Manohar Lal Sharma, who was among the leaders who resigned from party post, said at the Azad-led rally in Kathua. Azad said he came to know about the resignations of Congress leaders only through newspapers.

“I am not party to that (resignation by party leaders). I was not consulted. I, myself, read it in the newspapers,” he said. The veteran leader said that he did not talk to them as it is their personal point of view.

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