On his last roadshow, Omar cajoles, pleads with voters

November 21st, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Ganderbal (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov 21 (IANS) As the campaigning for the second phase of elections draws to a close Friday, National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah is leaving nothing to chance in this north Kashmir constituency this time.Accompanied by dozens of vehicles carrying supporters, Omar Abdullah addressed small groups of people in village after village, town after town in Ganderbal constituency where he is challenged by 11 other candidates. His main opponents, however, are Sheikh Muhammad Ashfaq of the Congress and Qazi Muhammad Afzal of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Ganderbal goes to the polls Sunday. Omar was defeated here in 2002 state aassembly elections by the PDP’s Qazi Muhammad Afzal by 2,870 votes.

In Korag village, 34 km from capital city Srinagar, Omar addresses a few hundred villagers.

“You have voted for my grandfather and also for my father in the past. Vote for me this time and I shall not betray your trust,” he says.

“I see you need a school here and I promise to get you a school soon after I am elected to the assembly.”

“Please forgive our mistakes of the past. We are bitten and wiser now. Your trust will definitely be vindicating by me,” Omar pleads with the voters who patiently listen to him and enthusiastically shout in a chorus “Zuroor (of course)”.

The next stop on the NC’s road show is Tullamulla town.

Here again Omar appeals for pardon and pleads for votes.

The residents of Tullamulla are present in good numbers to greet Omar Abdullah and attend his rally.

“He would have been chief minister had we voted him to the assembly in 2002. We were unfair to this young man. He deserves to win this time,” says Nighat Ara, 23, who is among the crowd at Tullamulla.

Later, Omar joins the villagers to offer Friday prayers at the shrine of Syed Qamar-ud-Din in Ganderbal town.

Here too people respond positively to Omar’s appeals for votes.

As the campaign draws to a close, Omar is asked by mediapersons: “Do you think you have made it this time from Ganderbal?”

“I expect to win decently from here this time although the voter turnout might not be as overwhelming in Ganderbal as it was in the first phase of elections at Bandipora and Sonawari constituencies,” he says.

Omar’s friend and NC legislator Devinder Rana is by his side in the vehicle from where Omar waves to the crowds.

“There is a clear swing across the state in our favour this time and we expect to come to power on our own,” Rana said.

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