What lies ahead?

Omar has stepped into politics in 2013, testing waters for 2014

Impressions

BINOO JOSHI

Omar Abdullah may like it or not, he has re-entered into active politics in 2013. What he could not do as President of National Conference from June 2002 to January 2009, he is trying to do so  that as  working president of the party. He is  now “working” President. His entry into politics in 1998 was a forced one. He contested the parliamentary election with a foregone conclusion that with his father Farooq Abdullah  as the  Chief Minister and  the party having more than a two-third majority in the Legislative Assembly, that he would win  hands down.  And he did. 
Congress had withdrawn its candidate against him  and there was no other  opposition worth its name to challenge him or the results that were so certain  and positive for them. Congress had a weird  excuse  for withdrawing its candidate against him, because he was Chief Minister’s son. 
In 1999, the story was all the same. It could be gauged from the fact that the day when the  polling  was taking place, Farooq Abdullah along with the then Governor  G C Saxena was playing golf. And when in the evening it came to be known that  the polling  was low, two police officers were summoned and given  dressing down  by Farooq Abdullah. But at the end of the day,  the winner  was Omar Abdullah. This victory was sweeter for Omar, because he had defeated his  arch rival Mehbooba Mufti, who had resigned from Congress and formed Peoples Democratic Party along with her father and some other trusted men and women.
 Omar loves power like any other politician, after all politics is all about getting and remaining in power. His father, who was also president  of the party, after hearing  plateful of praise for his son  and his work in the Union government, decided to call it quits  ahead of the 2002  Assembly polls.  And, he knew that  the perfect way of doing so was to hand over the leadership of National Conference to his son. This was supposed to be the first step, and the next would be to install him  as  Chief Minister  after  the polls. The polls were due  in  September- October that year, and lo and behold the Election Commission of India caught  Farooq unawares.  While he was in Jammu, paying tributes to the martyred policemen  who had fought terrorists in the suburbs of Jammu, came the announcement of the elections. Farooq admitted to a journalist who broke this news to him that he had not been consulted on the dates of  the election. That was the first indication that  Farooq  and his party would not  be the favourites of New Delhi. 
Elections came, and Ganderbal – the  Abdullah family bastion, was  allotted to  Omar Abdullah, with the conviction that the party would win hands down and next Chief Minister would be  Omar Abdullah.  In the heat of the election campaign,  Farooq Abdullah, who had declared that he would  retire from politics, was enjoying  sweets at Nathoo’s shop in Gandhi Nagar, Jammu.  The results came and  there were  28 seats in the kitty of National Conference. There were 11  independents willing to give their support to National Conference. Somehow, Farooq did not want to become  hostage to independents  and their  unacceptable demands. But he fell into other trap:  then Union Home Minister L K Advani  told him on phone that  it was a matter of six months, any alternative arrangement would  collapse in next six months. Congress and PDP were having consultations. Ghulam Nabi Azad was calling shots and  he was wanting to become Chief Minister. Since he had spewed so much venom  against the  senior Abdullah  that it was hard  for him to get NC support, he turned his eyes to PDP.  Muftis had other ideas  and  Azad had to make a strategic retreat. Mufti Sayeed became Chief Minister. 
To cut the long story short,  after remaining in political wilderness, he staged a comeback in 2004 parliamentary polls. But his ambition was still far  from his reach. It was fulfilled on January 5, 2009,  when he became the CM. But still his political training  fell short  of some of the things and finally, he has entered the politics in 2013  with eyes fixed on 2014. That is there for all to see.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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