Omar Abdullah takes oath as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister (Third Lead)

January 5th, 2009 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiJammu, Jan 5 (IANS) National Conference president Omar Abdullah Monday took oath as the eighth chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir along with nine ministers, including Tara Chand of the Congress as his deputy, ending six months of Governor’s rule in the state. Clad in a black sherwani and white payjama, Abdullah, 38, walked up the aisle to the flower decked dais with a smile on his face to be administered the oath of office by Governor N.N. Vohra at Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu.

As he approached the dais, his wife Payal, their two children Zahir and Zamir, and his father Farooq Abdullah, a former chief minister, broke into a loud cheers.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti were among the dignitaries present at the simple ceremony.

After taking oath of office in English, Abdullah, who is the youngest of all chief ministers of the state since 1965, sat on an elegantly crafted chair, waiting for other colleagues to be sworn in.

Vohra administered the oaths of office and secrecy to the 10-member council of ministers - five each from the National Conference (NC) and the Congress that have joined hands to form a coalition government in the state, where recently concluded election threw up a factured mandate.

The NC emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats but fell short of majority in the 87-member house to form the government on its own.

Barring Tarachand and Sham Lal of the Congress, all others who were sworn-in have been former ministers. They include Abdur Rahim Rather, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mian Altaf and Surjit Singh Salathia of the NC, and Peerzada Mohanmmad Sayeed and Rigzin Zora of the Congress.

The scion of the Abdullah dynasty, Omar is the third generation chief minister from the family after his grandfather Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and father Farooq Abdullah.

He was minister of state in the 1999-2004 National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Jammu and Kashmir was without an elected government since July last after the former coalition government of the Congress and the PDP fell apart over Amarnath shrine land allotment controversy.

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