Three days before CM Omar Abdullah was to complete three years in office, a youth protesting against power shortage was shot dead in Srinagar.
The event, in a nutshell, was a comment on Abdullah’s stint so far. The state’s youngest CM came to power with a mandate of change. The state is not halfway there yet, even though his term is halfway through.
Under Abdullah, J&K has touched a few real highs — panchayat elections, the introduction of Public Services Guarantee Act, and the most peaceful year in over two decades.
But the lows dominate the public perception — the 2009 rape and murder in Shopian, the 2010 protests across the Valley and more recently, his comments on Afzal Guru and the controversy over the recall of AFSPA.
Much of the fault lies with his own party, the National Conference, which failed to sell his achievements. For Abdullah, that let-down rankled.
But the party took solace from the fact that he still holds the chair — an achievement of sorts, it felt, given the keen interest in the Congress camp for a rotation of the post.
But occupying the hot seat does not automatically translate into governance, which one of Abdullah’s ministers admits, is “far below the expectations of the people”. Omar's three years in office
Abdullah, who feels the “job of J&K chief minister is a most difficult one,” is not happy either.
But he said he has done “much more” than his predecessors. “Had they done even half of this, we would have been sitting in the opposition.”
Sadly, for the people, after the 2011 summer of peace, roads, water and indeed, power, are more pressing concerns.
Recently, Abdullah had remarked 2012 could be a “make or break year” for the NC. The remark was perceptive. It could well apply to the CM himself.