JAMMU: Asserting that he had not consulted any political party before launching his Democratic Azad Party (DAP), former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said he does not consider leaders of other parties as his enemies and respects every politician and religion equally.
Azad said he has told his party colleagues to stick to their ideology and principles and not use abusive language against others.
Azad (73) ended his five-decade-long association with the Congress last month to launch the DAP with the support of more than two dozen former Jammu and Kashmir ministers and legislators of the grand old party, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand.
"Many people level wild allegations that we have links with this party or that party. I want to make it clear that we only have an agreement with our hearts and minds, besides the people of Jammu and Kashmir and none else."
"We had not consulted any other party before forming our party. Only our colleagues here and in Kashmir were on board. No regional or national political party had any knowledge about it -- neither about the formation of the new party nor its name," Azad told reporters here.
The former Union minister said the DAP has its own ideology, approach and thinking based on the Gandhian philosophy that led to the country's independence.
Expressing displeasure over levelling of allegations and counter-allegations, he said, "We are a cultured society and such things should not be there."
"We respect all religions and all political parties. I met my colleagues throughout Sunday, both seniors as well as youngsters, and asked them not to indulge in squabbles or speak against anyone. We have to draw a line and tell ourselves that political parties and enmity are two different things. The other parties are our political competitors like students in a classroom. Some score high or low marks and some fail in the exams, but they still remain as students and not become enemies," Azad added.
He said people are the real fountains of power as they decide the fate of all political leaders.
"Let everyone talk about his party, ideology, plans and manifestoes. The people are the masters, who will see and decide the fate of the contestants," he said.
The veteran politician said Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are like the four chambers of his heart, which are dependent on each other and there is no space for hatred.
Asked whether he plans to contest the next Jammu and Kashmir Assembly election, Azad said it will be considered only after the polls are declared.
However, he said, "The priority is to register our party but simultaneously, we will continue with our activities because the polls can be declared anytime." He also said the DAP will try to give 50 per cent poll tickets to youngsters and women.