Apparently miffed over his exclusion from the first round of ministry formation, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah skipped the swearing-in-ceremony on Friday.
Instead, he flew to South Africa to watch the last leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches being played there.
A few hours later, his son and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured Farooq that he would be inducted into the Cabinet in the first expansion — likely to take place on
Before boarding the flight to South Africa, Farooq (72), said the PM had assured him that once negotiations with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) were over, the Congress would talk to the NC about the Cabinet berth.
“The Prime Minister was very kind. He spoke to me last night and spoke about difficulties they are having with the DMK. They want to sort that out,” said Farooq.
A pre-poll ally of the Congress, the NC has three of the state’s six MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha. An Independent from Ladakh has pledged his support to the NC. The two parties are already running a coalition government in J&K.
Omar, who had on Thursday expressed annoyance at the Congress keeping his father in the dark about his induction into the Cabinet, sounded a placatory note on Friday.
He told HT over the phone that the “chapter is closed” after the PM spoke to Farooq on Thursday night.
“We are not upset about the ministerial berth. Since Dr Farooq Abdullah had other things to do, all we wanted to know was what was being planned,” Omar said.
“There is no question of feeling betrayed,” he said.