Emboldened by the success of the panchayat polls and unprecedented tourist footfalls, Omar Abdullah has silenced his critics by declaring that he would be chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir till January 2015, completing six years in office.
This declaration has come at a time when some of his detractors had raised doubts about his capacity to run the state for the full term of six years, and some of the voices were raised by leaders of Congress party, including former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma.
They had called for the rotational chief ministership, a formula of three years rotation in the seat of chief minister by each of the two alliance partners, the one which was the basis of PDP-Congress alliance from 2002-2008.
In an interview to local news agency KNS, Omar said, “as per the earlier agreement between National Conference and Congress, it was decided that there will be no rotational chief minister in the state.”
The issue is a hot topic in the state politics these days because Omar Abdullah’s government will be completing three years in office on January 5, 2012 and every now and then, some Congress leaders have been trying to raise the issue.
Making it clear that power will not change, Omar said, “till you don’t hear it from 10-Janpath that there will be rotational chief minister, don’t believe it. Some interested parties are trying to rake up this issue. This chapter had been closed in January 2009 only when I took over.”
“There is no signal from Sonia Gandhiji that this chapter will be opened again. In Bhasoli she (Sonia) recently said that ‘we stand by the agreement.’ So there is no question of going back on it.”
On this issue, Makhan Lal Fotedar, who is in Srinagar for talks on strengthening the coalition government, supported Omar Abdullah.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Fotedar said, “at the time of formation of NC-Congress coalition, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi announced that Omar Abdullah would head the government for full tenure. Though there are rotational chief ministers in coalition arrangements, but her word is final.”