National Conference (NC) leaders have started raising their voice for a change in the guard after the debacle of the party in the parliamentary polls. A majority of party leaders wants former union minister Farooq Abdullah to lead the party in the coming assembly elections, due in November this year.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is the president of the party, had apppointed his chief minister son Omar Abdullah as its working president in 2012.
Dr Farooq Abdullah lost an election for the first time in his 30-year-old political career, and more importantly from Srinagar constituency, considered an NC bastion, as the People's Democratic Party (PDP) is perceived as a party with rural base.
"Majority of us are now convinced that if Dr Abdullah takes reins of the party decisively, something can be done to turn the clock block. The party has lost touch with the common people and it's beyond chief minister Omar Abdullah to repair the political damage," said an NC MLA, on the condition of anonymity.
The old guard in the party feels it has been sidelined both in the party and the government ever since Omar became the CM.
The senior leaders feel that the CM would consult his aides-- Devender Rana and Nasir Aslam Wani--who were made provincial presidents of the party for Jammu and Kashmir divisions, to take care of party affairs and governance.
BJP had a lead of 24,000 over Congress candidate from Nagrota constituency, being nurtured by NC MLC Devender Rana. BJP had lead of 4899 votes, it polled 26000 votes while Congress candidate polled 19701 votes.
The NC could manage a slender lead of about 2,000 votes from Amira Kadal constituency, represented by Aslam Wani. Even in Omar's constituency Ganderbal, the party trailed behind PDP.
Some NC leaders, who don't want to come on record, say the party leadership should immediately adopt the one-man-one-rank formula, with Dr Farooq Abdullah being the full-fledged incharge of the party and Omar only heading the government.
The NC leaders also maintain that a disconnect with the people is not the only problem in the party as they are not even allowed to voice any dissent within the party forum.
"I dissented with the governance and the party functioning on many occasions. As a result, I lost my ministerial rank," said an NC MLA.
In 2008 Assembly elections, Dr Farooq Abdullah was the chief ministerial candidate, along with Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad. Omar had publicly acknowledged that he was not in the race for the CM's position but he still managed to grab the top post.
"Now when we will contest the assembly election, what is our political future? Going by the political trend, the party may find it hard to cross double digit," said a two-time MLA of NC.