No Intention Of Shifting To Centre, Will Stay In J&K Politics: Omar

No Intention Of Shifting To Centre, Will Stay In J&K Politics: Omar

16 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Ruling out shifting to the Centre in near future, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today that he has just begun his political inning in Jammu and Kashmir and would like to extend it here as long as possible serving people of the State. “I have just started my political inning. Someday everyone had to leave the ground just like our sports stars Sachin Tendulkar (cricket), Bhaichang Bhutia (football) and Leander Paes (tennis) are planning to call it a day. However, I’m here to stay and will carry forward my inning. Politics is not a day’s job. It’s a tough and a long inning but I would try to play it well so that people of the State are benefited,’’ Omar said in an inter-active session with toppers of 10th and 12th classes of this year at Government College for Women (GCW), Gandhi Nagar auditorium, organised by a national media house here. To a question as to whether he had ambition of becoming the Prime Minister of India, Mr Abdullah said he has no such plan at present as he wanted to serve the people of Jammu and Kashmir, a mandate given to him by the masses. “I will not leave Jammu and Kashmir. I want to serve the people here,’’ he told a questioner. “Moreover’’, he added, “there are many candidates in the race for the post of Prime Ministership. I’m not in the queue for the post of the Prime Minister. My target is to serve the people of Jammu and Kashmir and I’m committed to achieve it. It will be good for me if I achieve something in my State. It will be good for my people also’’. Asserting his political agenda is not focused on obtaining the chair but to serve the people of the State, Omar said he has never dreamt for the post of Prime Minister. “I have never dreamt for the post of Prime Minister. If I serve the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the best possible way, it will be the biggest thing for me,” he said, adding: “the people of the State have given me a chance to serve them and my endeavour will be to serve them in the best possible way’’. Taking a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley whom the State Government had detained at Jammu Airport and not allowed him to visit Kishtwar in the aftermath of August 9 violence there, the Chief Minister subjected a questioner to counter question: “why Mr Jaitley didn’t visit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh now, which has also been rocked by communal violence’’? The questioner wanted to know why Mr Jaitley was prevented from visiting Kishtwar and detained at Jammu Airport in the aftermath of Kishtwar violence. Criticising Jaitley for singling out Jammu and Kashmir, Omar raised questions on the BJP leader’s not visiting communal riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. “Why did Arun Jaitley not go to Muzaffarnagar where there were riots – why has he singled out Jammu and Kashmir – I had no problem in allowing him to go to Kishtwar – but situation did not allow,” he said. Replying to a question on why he did not allow the BJP leader to visit Kishtwar, Omar said “Jaitley had singled out Jammu and Kashmir – he should have equal concern for rest of the country. The visits could have aggravated the situation. I stopped the Deputy Chief Minister from going there – I requested Soz Sahib (the PCC-I chief) from going there – and also stopped my own party colleagues from travelling there.” “One needs to rely on one’s own judgment as well as on others – you have to understand situations – during the past four and half years, we have faced extreme difficulties – we have faced agitations in 2008 in Jammu and in Kashmir in 2010 – we know how much politics can be played in this sort of situation,” he said. “The question is not about allowing somebody – we had priorities – first, to restore clam in Kishtwar and second, to make sure trouble did not spread to other parts of Jammu,” the Chief Minister said. In reply to another question, Omar extended gratitude to the people of Jammu for exhibiting maturity and responsibility in denying anti-peace elements to spread hatred after the Kishtwar incident. When tension of such a nature emerges and people of different sections are emotionally at their peak, only priority before the government is to maintain calm and cool down emotions, he said. “Allowing any political leader to visit the disturbed area is not the administration’s prime concern at that point in time, but safeguarding people and bringing normalcy is of highest priority,” Omar said. Replying to another question on opposition to the all-girl rock band in Kashmir, the Chief Minister said: “it was my responsibility – but I think ultimately as much as it was the Government’s responsibility to care for the girl, it was also the girl’s responsibility.” “If the girls were interested in carrying forward the band, I think I would have done everything possible to ensure that they carried on – ultimately my understanding was, family pressure was such, they gave up,” he said. Controversy over Kashmir’s first all-girl rock band ‘Pragaash’ had brought to fore differences among separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. “Whether you like it or not – we live in a difficult situation – where such things do happen. Let me talk about the Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar – what is wrong with music – - music is not against individualism – yet there were those who wanted to make the concert into a political issue – they wanted to politicise it,” he said. Replying to a question on alarming rate of unemployment in the State, Omar said the Government has taken some steps to curb unemployment but admitted that it was not possible to tackle unemployment in the Government sector alone. “I admit that the Government hasn’t been able to bring the industry to Jammu and Kashmir to the extent it could have been. The private sector role is very vital in absorbing unemployed youth. However, the Centre has now launched ‘Himayat’ and ‘Udaan’ schemes for Jammu and Kashmir, which were benefiting the unemployed youths,’’ he said. Many States are craving for such initiatives implemented by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir, he said and asked the youth to take advantage of those initiatives and prove their mettle. Omar said his Government has created many opportunities for youths to take up self employment ventures and be members of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. To question on reservations in Government jobs, professional courses etc, Omar said he as an individual was against the reservations. He immediately clarified that this was his personal remark and not as a Chief Minister, National Conference leader, MLA or a politician. “The remarks are purely personal,’’ he asserted. In response to a question on allocation of home State cadre to civil servants, Omar said he would take up the issue with the Central Government. He was apprised that a youth has left IPS on being denied home cadre of Jammu and Kashmir. “I will take up the issue with the Prime Minister,’’ he added but said the IAS-IPS officers are supposed to serve anywhere in the country. To a question as to why the parents didn’t ask their kids to join politics just as they ask their children to become doctors, engineers, civil servants etc, Omar admitted that some persons have defamed the politics. At the same time, he said there were wrong doers in every field-be it business, bureaucracy or any other professions. “But since the politicians were directly accountable to the people, the latter had strong expectations from them and like them to be good,’’ he added. He asked the students not to shun the desire of entering politics after completing their studies by getting disappointed with the performance and action of some politicians. “Like every field, they may be some bad politicians but majority of them are good and committed to serve the people and the nation’’. Describing the country’s future to students, the Chief Minister told them to nurture themselves into best possible human resource and to lead the State and country as capable, qualified and astute leaders. “All of us have to leave the field for younger generation. Politics is no different game. Politicians also have to make way for young people to come in and hold the stage,” he said and expressed hope that younger generations would be better managers of affairs in future. “We may not resemble each other in colour, creed and caste. Our religion, ideology, region, language and culture may be different. But we can live together in an atmosphere of amity and brotherhood and prosper jointly,” he said and added that India is a diverse country, and an ideal citizen would respect his fellow citizens and extend help without considering anything. Recalling his childhood day, Omar said he was happy to see the students clapping when position holders were being honoured. He said he had secured position only once in third or fourth class and never achieved the feat again. To a question on his role model, he said he wanted to become a pilot and, therefore, had no role model. He advised the students not to make anyone as their role model. To another question on the definition of an “ideal citizen’’, the Chief Minister said respecting each other, spreading love and affection and making public service benchmark in all sphere of life, makes a person an ideal citizen. Omar said the society and democracy stand on four important pillars of legislature, judiciary, executive and media. He said all are equally responsible to build principle based society where justice, rule of law and inclusive development will be the guiding principle for all. In reply to another question, Omar said that consolidation in education and health Departments have already begun in the State and higher educational institutions have been asked to offer subjects of high market orientation and modern requirement to the students. “With the passage of time the newly opened colleges would provide almost all modern subjects to the students,’’ he added. Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Housing Minister Raman Bhalla, Planning Minister Ajay Sadhotra, Minister of State for Cooperatives Dr Manohar Lal Sharma and Devender Singh Rana, NC provincial president and MLC were present on the occasion. Amar Ujala Hindi newspaper had organised the function. The newspaper’s Group Editor Udai Kumar Sinha, J&K Editorial Head Ravinder Srivastava, News Editor Ragvendera Mishra, Unit Head Rajiv Srivastava, Association Vice President Marketing Mohit Sharma and Deputy News Editor Umesh Pangotra among others attended the function.