Rahul Gandhi Stands Up For Omar Abdullah16 September 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Scotching all speculation of a realignment of political forces in Jammu and Kashmir, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thm,ursday made it clear that he remained firmly behind chief minister Omar Abdullah, arguing that the job he was doing was a “tough” one and, hence, needed more time to reverse the situation. “Omar is doing a very tough job and he should be given time and support to combat the situation in J&K,” Mr Gandhi told newspersons on the concluding day of his three-day visit to West Bengal. Describing the prevailing problems in J&K as “sensitive and complex”, Mr Gandhi said it will require “patience and time for the situation to subside there and the National Conference government should be given support. Omar is a youngster and I think we have to give him some time and support.” Mr Gandhi’s remarks should go a long way in raising the beleaguered chief minister’s comfort level. Powerful sections within the UPA government at the Centre have been gunning for Mr Omar Abdullah, holding him responsible for the deterioration of the situation in J&K. The CCS meeting held on Monday had expressed its unease by talking about “trust-deficit” and “governance-deficit”, which was seen as a subtle dig at the chief minister. The BJP had a day later sought his resignation. Mr Gandhi’s unqualified support to Mr Abdullah, which came a day after the all-party meeting decided to send a delegation to the Kashmir Valley to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation prevailing there and formulate its response, is certain to be viewed with a sigh of relief by Mr Omar Abdullah. But many political observers also saw Mr Gandhi’s observations as a signal to Mr Omar Abdullah to start re-connecting with the people so as to be able to find out about their grievances. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in her speech at the all-party meeting on Thursday, had spoken about the need to provide hope to the youth, and to make a genuine effort to “understand and respect their legitimate aspirations”.