J&K: Senior leaders’ kin grab plum posts in YC

About four years after Rahul Gandhi set out to eliminate the role of "family, patronage and money" in the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), children and relatives of senior leaders continue to pluck plum posts in the youth wing of the grand old party. Eight out of the 11 general secretaries in the newly constituted state executive of the Jammu & Kashmir Youth Congress are related to senior leaders, including Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jammu MP Madan Lal Sharma.

RS Pathania, who had contested the last Assemby election as a rebel candidate, was appointed Vice-President of the J&K Youth Congress. Son of a senior Congress leader, Pathania is a known Azad loyalist.

Among the newly appointed PYC general secretaries were Mehboob Azad, nephew of Ghulam Nabi Azad; Satish Sharma, son of Jammu MP Madan Lal Sharma; Pranav Smagotra, nephew of state INTUC president Shiv Kumar Sharma; Jyoti Sharma, niece of PCC secretary Darshan Raina; and Imtiaz Ahmed Parray, son of militant-turned-anti-insurgent Kuka Parray.

State Youth Congress sources also criticised the appointment of many district YC presidents who had their "grooming in other parties". Jammu Rural district YC president Karan Bhagat, for instance, was earlier in Panthers Party.

J&K Youth Congress president Shoaib Lone, however, justified the decision to induct relatives of senior leaders in his team saying, "Just because they are somebody's relatives does not disqualify them." Mehboob Azad, for instance, had had long association with the NSUI, said Lone. Jyoti is "educated" and came in "female quota"; and Pranav Smagotra is a "very hard worker".

"All our state committee members are graduates or post-graduates. They are clean people and that is what Rahulji wants. YC has not appointed anybody under the influence of any senior leaders. Their appointment is purely on merit. We cannot leave somebody out just because he or she is related to somebody," Shoaib Lone told The Indian Express.

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