I was destined to become chief minister: Omar

Jammu, Jan 5 (IANS) Destiny had scripted that he would become chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said Thursday on the third anniversary in office as head of the volatile state and recalled how he had not even been in the ‘waiting list’.

‘I was destined to become chief minister, so I became, otherwise it was either going to be my father Farooq Abdullah from National Conference or Ghulam Nabi Azad from Congress,’ Abdullah, 41, said at a function to mark the completion of three years of the National Conference-Congress coalition government.

‘To tell you the truth, I was not even in the waiting list,’ said a visibly happy Abdullah, who was handed over the baton of National Conference presidency in June 2002, months before the assembly elections that year.

He had lost the 2002 elections and his party had to sit in opposition over the next six years. In 2008, it was his father who returned to electoral politics – he had not contested in 2002 – and was projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the National Conference.

‘It was Allah’s blessing,’ said Abdullah junior, who was was sworn in as the youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir here on Jan 5, 2009, after his party with 28 seats and Congress with 17 seats in the house of 87 forged an alliance.

It was at a breakfast meeting on Dec 29, 2008 between the father and son that the situation swung in Abdullah junior’s favour.

Abdullah, for whom completion of three years in office is an achievement in itself as the alliance partner had stepped up pressure to rotate the post at the half-way mark of the six year term of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, said the tenure had seen ‘the best of times, worst of times…’

‘With the blessings of Allah, cooperation of ministers and the people, we were able to sail through,’ said Abdullah, whose tenure has seen successive summers of unrest and then of peace, albeit tenuous.