Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday described Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi "a young and dynamic Gandhi, who has emerged as the champion of inclusiveness and secularism in the country" and hoped him to come to power in the Centre.
Speaking in an election rally in south Kashmir's Tral area, the chief minister showered praise for Rahul and saw a ray of hope in him.
"Rahul Gandhi symbolised the secular, democratic traditions and ethos of the country and is a leader who carries all sections of the society with him without any prejudice or bias," he told the gathering, while seeking votes for NC-Congress coalition candidate Mehboob Beg for Anantnag seat.
He also described Rahul "a time-tested and consistent friend of the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
"Rahul represents the modern India of today where all sections of society have equal opportunities and avenues for growth, justice and development," he said.
The chief minister said Rahul had empathised with people of Kashmir at every given opportunity. "We want him and UPA-3 to be in power at the Centre to safeguard the pluralistic and secular democratic traditions of India," he said.
The friendship of Rahul and Omar is known for long. Abdullahs and Gandhis have forged ties since 1947 in Kashmir.
"Rahul can protect the interests of Jammu and Kashmir and its people," said Abdullah, son of union minister Farooq Abdullah.
He asked people "to make a choice between BJP's Narendra Modi, who represents authoritarian and communal politics, and a young, dynamic Rahul Gandhi, who has emerged as the champion of inclusiveness and secularism in the country."