Ghulam Nabi Azad is an Indian politician and a former member of the Indian National Congress who served as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha from 2014 to 2021. He has also served as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir (2005-2008) and the Minister of Health and Family Welfare (2009-2014). On 26 August 2022, he resigned from the party because of his resentment toward the party leaders.
Ghulam Nabi Azad was born on Monday, 7 March 1949 (age 73 years; as of 2022) in Soti village, Gandoh, Jammu and Kashmir. His zodiac sign is Pisces. He did his schooling at the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education, Srinagar. He pursued a B.Sc at Gandhi Memorial Science College, Jammu, and an M.Sc in Zoology (1972) at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar. My Neta
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Azad’s father’s name is Rahamatullah Batt (deceased), and his mother’s name is Basa Begum (deceased). He has three brothers, Liaqat Ali, Ghulam Ali Azad, and Ghulam Qadir Bhatt. All of them are politicians.
His sister’s name is Shakeela Begum.
Wife & Children
Ghulam Nabi Azad got married to Shameem Dev Azad, a Kashmiri singer, in 1980.
They have a son, Saddam Nabi Azad, and a daughter, Sofiya Nabi Azad.
Ghulam Nabi Azad resides at House No. 9, Hyderpora Byepass, District Badgam, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.
A long-serving member of the party, he was a part of the party from Indira Gandhi‘s government. Azad started his political career in 1973 when he joined Indian National Congress as the secretary for the Block Congress Committee in Bhalessa. In 1975, he was nominated as the President of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Youth Congress. In 1980, he was appointed as the President of the All-India Youth Congress.
1980 Lok Sabha Elections
In 1980, Ghulam Nabi Azad contested from the Washim Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra and won the seat defeating JNP candidate Ade Pratapsing Ramsing by 1,51,478 votes. In 1982, he was appointed as Deputy Minister in charge of the Law, Justice and Company Affairs Ministry in Central Government. From 1983 to 1984, he served as the Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
1984 Lok Sabha Elections
In 1984, he was re-elected as MP from the Washim Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra. He served as the Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs from 1984 to 1986. In 1986, he was nominated as the Minister of State of Home Affairs. In October 1986, he started working as the Minister of State of Food and Civil Supplies.
As a member of the Rajya Sabha
In 1989, he became a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. He served as the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs from June 1991 till December 1992. In January 1993, he was appointed as the Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, a position that he served till May 1996. In 1996, he was appointed as a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir. In 2002, he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir. In May 2004, he was appointed as the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Union Minister of Urban Development; he served until October 2005. On 29 April 2006, he resigned as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha as he became Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 2 November 2005. In 2009, he was appointed as the Minister of Health and Family Welfare. From 2015 to 2021, he served as Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha.
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In 2002, The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Indian National Congress (Congress) formed a coalition government with PDP’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed serving as the Chief Minister for the first three years and Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad for the next three years. From 2 November 2005 to 11 July 2008, he served as the 7th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
2006 by-polls for four seats in J&K
In 2002, the Bhaderwah Assembly seat was won by Mohammad Sharief Niaz. However, he vacated the seat to fulfil the constitutional obligation of becoming a member of the legislature within six months. Thereafter, a by-poll was declared on the seat. By-elections to Rafiabad, Pattan, Sangrama, and Bhaderwah assembly constituencies were held in 2006 during which Ghulam Nabi Azad contested the Bhaderwah Assembly constituency. He won the seat defeating BJP’s Kaushal Kotwal by a margin of 58,015 votes.
2008 Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Elections
In 2008, he contested from the Bhaderwah Assembly constituency and won defeating the BJP candidate Daya Krishan.
2014 Lok Sabha Elections
In 2014, he contested and lost the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir.
Resignation from INC
In 2022, he resigned from all positions including primary membership of the INC describing the party as “comprehensively destroyed” alleging that after Rahul Gandhi was appointed the vice-president of INC in 2013 all senior and experienced leaders were sidelined.
Launched his own party
In 2022, Azad attracted controversy after his name was nominated for Padma Bhushan Award. Many congress leaders took to social media to state that BJP was trying to convenience him to join BJP by offering him the award. Some of the leaders also suggested that it was unusual for BJP to recognize Azad’s social work that Congress could not recognize. Later, Azad took to Twitter to clarify the allegations and said,
In March 2022, Ghulam Nabi Azad was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, by President Ram Nath.
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs. 2,03,33,590.
- He was a part of the party from Indira Gandhi‘s government, to Rajiv Gandhi‘s government to Rahul Gandhi‘s government.
- Azad also worked in Manmohan Singh‘s government.
- In 2012, when he was the Health Minister of India, he worked on the National Rural Health Mission and also launched a National Urban Health Mission for the urban poor. In an interview, he said that people should marry between the age of 25 and 30 so that the population of the country could be controlled.
He further said,
If there is electricity in every village, people will watch TV till late night and then fall asleep. They won”t get a chance to produce children. When there is no electricity, there is nothing else to do but produce babies.”
- In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got emotional while giving farewell to Azad when his tenure as a member of the Rajya Sabha ended. During the speech, he said,
There was a terrorist attack and eight people in Gujarat were killed. The first call I received was from Ghulam Nabi ji. The call was not just to inform me of the incident, but his tears were not stopping on the phone. It was of concern, like a family member.”
- In 2021, when he left Rajya Sabha, Azad said that he was proud to be a Hindustani Muslim. In the speech, he said,
I am among those fortunate people who never went to Pakistan. When I read about circumstances in Pakistan, I feel proud to be a Hindustani Muslim. If any Muslim should feel proud in the world, it should be the Indian Muslim. Over the years, we have seen how Muslims countries from Afghanistan to Iraq getting destroyed. There are no Hindus or Christians there – they are fighting amongst themselves.”
- On 16 August 2022, when Sonia Gandhi nominated Azad for the post of chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress campaign committee, he refused to be part of the committee. One of the Congress leaders talked about this and said,
The newly constituted campaign committee has ignored the aspirations of the party’s grassroot workers in J&K. Injustice has been meted out to them. That’s why Ghulam Nabi Azad has resigned as he was unsatisfied with the committee.”
- Azad was considered the ‘crisis manager’ of the Congress party.
- In 2022, when he received the Padma Bhushan award, he said,
I like that someone recognised my work. Even during my ups and downs in different phases of my life, I always strived to work for the people, be it in the social or political sphere or as a (former) Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.”