2010: When Delhi 'considered' Change Of Guard In JK

4 June 2014
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: When Kashmir was up in arms over the civilian killings at the hands of police and paramilitary forces in 2010, New Delhi had considered change of guard in the State after a few old guards of the ruling National Conference allegedly plotted Omar Abdullah's exit, Greater Kashmir has learnt. According to NC insiders, in the midst of 2010 unrest-which claimed at least 120 civilians in action by police and paramilitary forces-the State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered to resign at one point in time following massive public outcry. While New Delhi and the ex-PM's office, they said, considered replacing Omar with senior NC leader and Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather or Ali Muhammad Sagar, another senior party leader and Rural Development Minister, the Army allegedly put its foot down and suggested that Ghulam Hassan Mir, the present agriculture minister, should take over as the J&K CM. Sources, privy to all these developments in Delhi that time, said it was only after 'timely intervention' by the union minister and NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah that the 'entire move was halted.' It has been reliably leant that prior to New Delhi's move to change the guard in J&K, at least three senior NC leaders-one from Srinagar, one from central Kashmir and another from North Kashmir-had 'plotted' Omar's exit following 'hectic lobbying' in Delhi and elsewhere. According to sources, these NC leaders, who are seen among those 'not cooperating with Omar right from the day he took over as the J&K CM', haven't stopped there. Two of these leaders are charged with 'furthering the business interests of their sons and projecting them as future political leaders' rather than 'working for the welfare of people and the party.' It is learnt that son of one of these National Conference leaders is in 'constant touch' with the opposition People's Democratic Party to join their fold while son of another leader and senior minister had, recently, called on a PDP leader at his residence and offered to join the party. A senior NC minister from Central Kashmir is also charged with 'conniving with a senior non-local bureaucrat' to 'develop his own clout.' While the National Conference is in the process of party rejig following the LS poll drubbing, questions are being raised as to how the 'tainted' old guards, who have been allegedly working 'against party interests', be given to handle the party affairs. Pertinently, National Conference lost all three seats to PDP in the recently-held LokSabha polls, triggering a slew of measures from the party with regard to its 'overhaul.'