What lies ahead?
Omar has stepped into politics in 2013, testing waters for 2014
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Congress had withdrawn its candidate against him and there was no other opposition worth its name to challenge him or the results that were so certain and positive for them.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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