Srinagar: The ruling National Conference Wednesday received a major blow before polls as one of the Abdullah family loyalists and a close confidante of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah ended his two-decade association with the party.
Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, a former Chief Secretary and a Member of the Legislative Council, said he dispatched his resignation letter to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who is also the party president.
“I have resigned from National Conference as party member as well as central working committee member. I got dissatisfied from Omar’s performance during his term,” Sheikh told Kashmir Reader.
Sheikh, a resident of Ganderbal, was credited with the victory of Omar in 2008 polls from the constituency after the latter got defeated from PDP’s Qazi Mohammad Afzal in 2002.
In the upcoming polls Omar dumped the family bastion Ganderbal “after I refused to support him this time,” Sheikh said.
“On September 30, four Cabinet ministers—Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Mian Altaf along with Devender Singh Rana—came to my residence. First, they offered me mandate, but I refused it; then they sought support for Omar from Ganderbal, which again I refused,” he said.
Slamming Omar for his poor performance during his six-year term, Sheikh said the junior Abdullah didn’t hold a single public gathering in his constituency. “He is disconnected from workers or people in Ganderbal. Last time, I supported his candidature from here and therefore he emerged as a winner. Now I realize it was a mistake. He didn’t call me once as he has no time for people,” Sheikh said, as he parried query about his future plans.
“I saw Farooq (Abdullah) helpless when I conveyed him about my displeasure. I told him his son was responsible for his defeat in this year’s Lok Sabha polls. Basically Omar is surrounded by inexperienced people,” Sheikh added.
He lamented at the role played by party provincial presidents and Omar’s lieutenants Nasir Aslam Wani and Devender Rana. “Both of them are responsible for the mess in the party. Nasir brought in Ishfaq Jabbar, who contested against Omar in 2008 polls, and is NC’s candidate from Ganderbal in the coming elections. His political advisers are responsible for the mess. Except for meaningless meetings, nothing happens there.”
Sheikh, an old NC hand, had formally joined the party after he retired from government service in 1995 as Chief Secretary of J&K. “I, Vijay Bakaya and Abdul Rahim Rather prepared a vision document of the NC in 2008. Omar didn’t get time to flip through it. After coming across such things, you feel cheated…to hell with the party. Now, Omar dumped Ganderbal and I left National Conference,” he said, adding that it was an illusion to believe Omar was visionary.