Omar's Announcement On Farooq Not Contesting Elections Shocks NC

21 July 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Jammu: With Omar Abdullah announcing that his father Farooq Abdullah will not contest the Assembly elections, shocked National Conference (NC) leaders and workers have gone mum. Farooq has been a strong motivational force behind the success of the NC and grassroots workers of the party have always identified themselves with him. His brother Mustafa Kamal, an MLA, believes that Farooq's absence is demoralising for the party. 'People love him the most. He will be back and will guide the party to a win,' Kamal said. NC working president Omar had said Farooq would not contest the Assembly elections, which had sent shock waves in the party. Senior party leaders and ministers have refused to comment on the issue and termed it as a decision of the party high command. Farooq's presence in the elections is crucial for the party to do well after suffering its worst-ever defeat in the General Election. He has been the motivational force behind every party worker after every low. He is the only leader of the NC who has a personal bond with the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions and in the Chenab valley and Pir Panjal sub-regions. Farooq has been in active politics since 1977. He is a three-time Chief Minister. He was party president from 1980 to 2002 and has been holding this post since 2008. After sitting in the opposition after the 2002 Assembly elections, the Farooq-led party emerged as the single largest party in the 2008 elections. Supporting Omar's decision, Kamal said, 'This is a decision of a son for his father, who is not well. Had I been in Omar's place, I would have taken the same decision.' 'At the same time, I am hopeful that Farooq will be available for the party and we will move under his guidance. Farooq will stay fit when he remains with the people,' Kamal added.