Omar suggests election is a rebuke to conspirators; says delegates will be on board in party decisions; recalls NC has been target of conspiracies
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) on Sunday re-elected former chief minister Farooq Abdullah as the president of the party. The decision came during a delegates’ convention which was held after a gap of 15 years at Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonwar here.
“I am old. I pray to Allah for strength to carry forward the party affairs,” he said in his brief address.
Addressing the delegates and workers on the occasion, working president Omar Abdullah said that many people were surprised over the re-election of Farooq Abdullah as party president.
“The talks doing the rounds suggested a different name, but somebody else became the president,” Omar said. “Even though Farooq Abdullah desired that he should be relieved of the party responsibilities, senior party leaders and I personally requested him to become the president. I personally requested Farooq sahib as party member and as a son to utilize his experiences towards the betterment of the NC.”
By far, it was the biggest convention held by any pro-India political party in the recent years in Srinagar – moderate estimates put the number of delegates that participated in the event at 25000.
Top party leadership including NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Davinder Rana, Mian Altaf were among those present at the convention.
Referring to tough times the party faced, Omar said that National Conference has been constantly targeted and faces formidable challenges. “We can’t afford to leave you at this juncture,” Omar told Farooq from the podium. “You are the president and I am the working president. Keep your blessed hand on our shoulders. You have an experience. We are your soldiers following your directions.”
Paying tributes to his uncle, Sheikh Nazir, Omar said that he worked selflessly for the party, without any greed for mandate or a position of power. “NC fought conspiracies. Despite the neighboring country’s effort to open political fronts and kill our political workers, we have fought courageously,” Omar said. “The day my grandfather Sheikh Abdullah was arrested by a police Hawaldar to the dismissal of Farooq sahib (in 1984), we have been fighting conspiracies.”
He said that the party has based its politics on strong principles and never been hungry for power. “That is why we are different. The desire is that peace should prevail in Kashmir and bloodshed should end,” Omar said. “The pledges made with the people of the state should be fulfilled. We should be allowed to live with dignity. We can achieve this by taking control of the dispensation,” Omar said.
“NC workers, who work hard to keep the party alive, will be looked after,” Omar said, adding that his party had made the mistake of closing the doors for the workers in the past. “This will not happen. We will respect our workers,” Omar said.