Farooq proposes omarís name for j&k cmís
Srinagar December 29:
As the National Conference (NC) prepares to work out an alliance with the Congress in J&K after emerging as the single largest party in the Assembly polls; party patron Farooq Abdullah on Monday projected his son and party president Omar Abdullah as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
Talking to reporters Farooq said, ďI have thought over this. I feel younger CM is better of the state.Ē The senior Abdullahís backing Omar undoubtedly points to a generational change not just in the National Conference but also in J&K politics. Interestingly, Farooq had earlier said that he would become the next Chief Minister.
A formal announcement on Omarís candidature is expected to come after the Abdullahs meet party leaders and cadre to get their approval on the move. Moreover, the NC would be looking for signals from the Congress, as it with its 17 seats holds the key to the next government in Srinagar, about its openness with the idea of having a young Omar in the CMís chair.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to hold talks with former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior party leader from the state Saifuddin Soz in New Delhi on Monday afternoon. The party's stand on the coalition is likely to be declared after that meeting, though there are indications that the Congress prefers Omar rather than his father Farooq for the Chief Minister's post.
Moreover, the excellent rapport that Omar shares with Rahul Gandhi is also expected to make things easy for him as he attempts to ascend to the throne in J&K. To that affect, Congress sources had claimed that Omar had spoken to Rahul after the poll results became clear Sunday evening.
The NC with its 28 seats (the same as in last elections) along with the 17 won by the Congress will have 45 seats, one above the halfway mark in the 87 member Assembly. Importantly, the rank & file of NC is also gradually warming up to the idea of having the junior Abdullah at the helm. .
"The younger generations of the two families have decided to forget the bitterness of the past and work for the future of the state that needs special attention because of the prevailing situation here," a NC leader said. Although the NC is ready to mark a new chapter in its relationship with the Congress, Farooq Abdullah, who has held the state's reins three times, made it clear that he and not the Congress candidate will be the chief minister.
While Farooq Abdullah won from both Hazratbal and Sonawar in Srinagar, his son avenged his 2002 defeat in Ganderbal in north Kashmir, defeating the very same PDP nominee who had humiliated him six years ago. The Congress on the other hand has not many options. The grand old party is unlikely to forge an alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed as both parties had their share of bitter moments while they shared power in the outgoing government.
Thatís why, Sayeed will find it difficult to approach the Congress for an alliance despite having powerful well-wishers like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Moreover, the Congress plus the PDP (21 seats) does not get to the halfway mark anyway, and any such coalition will need support from independents.
On the other hand, what is working to NC's favour is the clear arithmetic (with Congress they get majority) and more importantly the fact that Ghulam Nabi Azad is a strong advocate for aligning with the NC. NC sources said the party will stake claim to power soon after working out the details of the alliance with the Congress.