Abdullah makes first public appearance post organ transplant
Former chief minister and National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah, who was missing from the political scene in the Valley for almost a year announced his arrival in his trademark style.
Dressed in blue Khan suit and a darker shade waist coat, Abdullah on Wednesday surprised media by his unannounced visit to Press Enclave in the heart of Srinagar, where most of the newspaper offices are based.
The senior Abdullah who returned from London after undergoing kidney transplant looked fresh. Abdullah got down from his car and waved people present in the colony. The flamboyant NC leader even let people click a few selfies with him before posing happily for the media.
The visit although brief was significant as he raised his hands in air and said, "Tiger is back."
The 77-year-old NC patron recently returned to the Valley after treatment for a kidney ailment in London last week.
In the season of change, senior Abdullah's absence has been felt most by his son Omar Abdullah. While the National Conference working president, who led the party in one of the toughest elections in its history, lost from Sonawar assembly constituency, but barely managed to salvage his seat in Beerwah - the winning margin was less than 1,000 votes.
The National Conference which was fighting anti-incumbency came up with one of the worst performances post militancy in Farooq's absence. From a tally of 28 in previous elections, the party managed to get only 15 seats in 2014 elections. The NC even lost in most seats in Srinagar- a traditional NC bastion.
Farooq Abdullah, who missed voting first time since he took up his political career as scion of party founder Sheikh Abdullah in 1980s, was undergoing a surgery in a London hospital was conducted the same day his traditional bastion Srinagar went to polls.
While party insiders feel senior Abdullah's absence may have had a negative impact on the voters, independent observers feel that 2014 elections was the real generation shift in National Conference.
Although Farooq's volatile, unconventional personality has always garnered criticism, even his die hard critics agree his 'charisma is unmatched in Kashmir's political scene.'
However, it remains to be seen in how much public life the senior Abdullah is ready to be part of in the coming years. As the state is currently led by a politician who is older than Abdullah, it should be no surprise if the NC patron is seen again playing cricket with children, or taking a scooter ride with some famous actress or breaking into a spontaneous gig or cracking jokes with party workers during meetings.