Chief minister and National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah has said that Ganderbal was and will forever remain close to his heart.
Addressing the first rally ever since he left the traditional Abdullah constituency for Sonawar in Srinagar and Beerwah in the Budgam area, the chief minister said, "This is the first time that I am coming to Ganderbal to ask for your votes for someone not from my family and I am touched and overwhelmed by your support today. I stand inspired by the passion of the youth who received me in Ganderbal and promise them that my personal bond and association with Ganderbal will remain unchanged till I live."
This time, The NC had decided to give mandate for the Ganderbal seat to Sheikh Mohammed Ashfaq alias Ishfaq Jabbar, who contested against Abdullah in 2008 assembly election on a Congress ticket and later joined the NC.
"After serving you for six years, we decided to give you a local leader as an initiative to empower local leadership and I am certain that Jabbar will receive unhindered support from you," added the chief minister.
He said that it was due to the efforts and struggle of the NC that nearly 12 new administrative units had been opened in the Ganderbal constituency.
Lashing out at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Omar said that it was Mufti Sayeed who made a melodramatic appeal to militants asking them to surrender as according to Mufti Sayeed, the PDP was there to represent their sentiments and grievances.
"Tragically it was the same Mufti Sayeed who, after making this appeal, sent those very militant commanders to their graves who had come to talk in Farooq Abdullah's government. That is where Mufti Sayeed's healing touch started and ended," he claimed.
He added, "It was the PDP that opposed the rehabilitation policy for youths who had crossed over to other side of the Line of Control and wanted to return to their homes. We supported that resolution while the PDP opposed it and today more than 300 youths have returned from across the LoC under this policy. Similarly, we changed the system of giving passports and made as many relaxations as we possibly could. These are some of the significant, concrete initiatives we have taken for our youth and for the spirit of reconciliation."
Welcoming the life imprisonment to the accused in the Machil fake encounter case, Omar said this was a vindication of the NC's struggle for justice for the families of the Machil victims.
"We never gave up on our demand for justice in the Machil case and never surrendered our protest until a case was registered against the accused. We assure the people that we will continue to ask for re-opening of the Pathribal case as well," said the CM.
Omar asked the people of Ganderbal to make a distinction between corrupt and uneducated politicians. "Jabbar will lead you with dedication and honesty and is an educated representative of the people of Ganderbal. I assure you that Ishfaq will carry on all good work that has been done in Ganderbal."
Omar criticises Cong
Chief minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah said that it was surprising that the Congress after six years of coalition and occupying key cabinet portfolios was attributing points of criticism to the NC, while self-awarding the credit for all good things. "They are picking and choosing the good things done by my government and publicising them as their achievements. One may understand the need for the Congress to do so, given their political worries. The people are not as gullible as they might think them to be. The people know that it was the NC that relentlessly pushed all pro-people measures through the constraints of coalition politics time and again during the last six years despite regular hesitation and hurdles that we had to encounter," said Omar.