Omar, the man in charge | india | Hindustan Times
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Omar, the man in charge

india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 23:39 IST
Arun Joshi

Omar Abdullah of the National Conference (NC) was sworn in as the youngest Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday afternoon by Governor NN Vohra at Zorawar Singh auditorium of the Jammu University.

The ceremony was held in Jammu after 23 years. It was in 1986 that Omar’s father Farooq was sworn in as leader of the National Conference-Congress government more than 22 years ago.

Nine ministers — four of them from the NC and five from the Congress, including Tara Chand, tipped to be Omar’s deputy – were also administered oath of office and secrecy in front of a nearly 1,000-strong audience, which included Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Omar (38), dressed in a black sherwani, entered the hall along with his family at 17 minutes before the ceremony began. Farooq walked up to greet PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and BJP leader Chaman Lal Gupta.

The Congress filled its five-member quota in the first batch of ministers with former speaker Tara Chand, Sham Lal, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Rigzin Zora. It gave two berths to the three elected in the Valley, two to the Jammu region and one to Ladakh.

Besides Surjit Singh Salathia, only NC candidates to win from Jammu, the party brought in three from the Valley — Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Mohammad Sagar and Mian Altaf. All these have a clean image and are known to be good administrators.