Omar invokes Dickens, destiny to describe tenure (Lead)

January 5th, 2012 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Jammu, Jan 5 (IANS) “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…,” was how Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah chose to describe his three-year tenure in office Thursday, adding that he was “destined” to occupy the post.

Speaking at a function here to mark the completion of three years of the National Conference-Congress coalition government, Abdullah, 41, quoted the opening line of Charles Dicken’s novel “A Tale of Two Cities” to describe his see-saw tenure.

“Some of the days were filled with happiness and others were snatched away from us by tragedies,” he added.

“I was destined to become chief minister, so I became. Otherwise it was either going to be my father Farooq Abdullah from National Conference or Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress.”

“To tell you the truth, I was not even in the waiting list,” said a visibly happy Abdullah, who was handed over the baton of National Conference presidency in June 2002, months before the assembly elections that year.

Taking a dig at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) without naming it, he said: “Some people cannot withstand the sight of me being chief minister.”

The PDP has often accused his government of being the “most corrupt and incompetent”.

Omar admitted that he might not have been able to “deliver on each and every issue and demand of the people”, but went on to promise that his government will “ensure that the next three years are the best”.

“With the blessings of Allah, cooperation of ministers and the people, we were able to sail through,” said Abdullah, for whom completion of three years in office is an achievement in itself as the alliance partner Congress had stepped up pressure to rotate the post at the half-way mark of the six-year term of the assembly.

Omar Abdullah had lost the 2002 elections and his party had to sit in the opposition over the next six years. In 2008, it was his father who returned to electoral politics - he had not contested in 2002 - and was projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the National Conference.

“It was Allah’s blessing,” said Abdullah junior, who was the youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir when he was sworn-in here Jan 5, 2009, after his party with 28 seats and the Congress with 17 seats in the house of 87 forged an alliance.

Omar also thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram for their support.

It was the vocal support of Congress leaders at the centre which saved the day for him during the 2010 street unrest, when more than 100 youths were killed in action by security forces.

Holding of panchayat elections after three decades was a big achievement, Omar said incorrectly, forgetting that the polls were also held during Farooq Abdullah’s tenure in 2001.

“When my government will go to people after completing six years in office, we would have delivered on what we were mandated for,” he concluded.

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