Third generation of Abdullahs ready to lead Jammu and KashmirDecember 28th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Dec 28 (IANS) Omar Abdullah, the man of the moment after his National Conference Sunday emerged the single largest party in the Jammu and Kashmir elections, would be a third generation Abdullah to take high office if he becomes the next chief minister.His grandfather, the legendary Kashmiri leader, the late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah founded the National Conference in 1938 and became theprime minister of the state in 1947. He later also becme the chief minister in 1974 and died in harness in 1982. Omar’s father Farooq Abdullah became chief minister thrice in 1982, 1987 and 1996.
The Abdullahs are the only political clan in the country, other than the Nehru-Gandhis, to put three successive generations into political high office.
Omar Abdullah, 38, is on a new high having regained his family’s traditional assembly constituency of Ganderbal and also taking his party to the top slot in the 87-member legislative assembly.
Son of a Kashmiri father and a British mother, Omar was educated in a Christian missionary school in Srinagar and has been known for his strong secular views and forward-looking political approach.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998 and became one of the youngest central ministers at the age of 29 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in 1999.
Farooq Abdullah handed over the party’s mantle to him in 2001 and later Omar Abdullah fought elections as the party’s chief ministerial candidate from Ganderbal in 2002 - which he lost to the same rival he defeated Sunday.
Married to Payal Abdullah, Omar Abdullah has two sons and is known as a family man taking time out for them despite political engagements.
If he becomes the chief minister of the troubled state, Omar Abdullah would have his hands full proving himself worthy of the people’s trust and also try and regain the lost glory of his party, which during the days of his grandfather was believed to have unassailable hold among the Kashmiri people.