'I dream of a terror-free J&K’ | india | Hindustan Times
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'I dream of a terror-free J&K’

NC president Omar Abdullah who has been named as Chief Ministerial nominee by his father Farooq Abdullah said that it was a golden opportunity for him to rebuild the state and restore peace of the pre-1989 era. Excerpts from interview with him by Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2008 00:21 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times

National Conference president Omar Abdullah who has been named as Chief Ministerial nominee by his father Farooq Abdullah said that it was a golden opportunity for him to rebuild the state and restore peace of the pre-1989 era.

In an exclusive telephonic interview with Hindustan Times Monday,within hours after Omar was named as next CM of the state by Farooq, NC president said that his father in all likelihood would go to parliament and play a role at the national and international level.

Excerpts from interview with Omar Abdullah

Q.What transpired that overnight that your father Farooq Abdullah decided to name you as CM this morning?
Omar: I think that is only something Doctor sahib knows. This morning I received a call from him that I should have breakfast with him at his place. There, he told me that he had decided that I should be the CM. I tried to convince him otherwise, but he said thatit was important that I become the CM and he would like to work in the state for the party and would like to play role at the national politics and international level.

Q. Is Dr. Abdullah going to Rajya Sabha?

Omar : In all likelihood.

Q. What is the change between 2002 to and 2008 with your party having the same number of seats, 28?

Omar : It is a complicated scenario. In 2002, it was an anti-incumbency vote . This time it is a positive vote . Despite all attempts by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to wipe out National Conference during his rule, by adopting a populist agenda in which the PDP tried to take credit for everything, including opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, National Conference emerged as the single largest party. I am surprised that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti tried to take credit for the large turn out of voters. Tjis time , it is a credit to our resilence.

Q.Tasks ahead ?
Omar : First thing first, we will have to deliver good governance . Apart from addressing the issues of sadak, bijli, pani, we will have to address the larger political issues of resolution. But it's premature to get into specifics at this point of time.
Q. Where do you place separatism after the elections and have separatists become irrelevant ?
Omar : Separatism is not dead . Separatists are relevant. They are, perhaps, at their lowest point ever since the secessionist movement began in 1989. Now theiur relevance wold depend as to what role would they play. They should realize that the people are fed up with their repeated calls for strikes and hartals.

Q. What kind of coalition with Congress you hope to have?
Omar : I think it is only these two parties- NC and Congress that do not believe in playing region against region, community against community. We, both believe in building bridges between the regions and communities. Our task is to build bridges of relationship and trust.

The two parties are present in all the three regions. Despite the fact that hundreds of my effigies were burnt during Amarnath agitation in Jammu, still our candiodate from Vijaypur- heartland of Hindu belt of Jammu, has won. We have MLAs from Jammu as well. ( NC has six MLAs from Jammu region).

Q. But your parties in the past had had bitter relations during the alliances in 1975-77 and 1986-1990 era and your father had stated that alliance with Congress was a disaster?

Omar : It is not necessary that if something went wrong in the past that would be repeated again. There is a generational shift. I am hoping to work with the likes of Rahul Gandhi in Gandhi family. My father had worked with Indiraji and Rajivji and my grandfather with Pt. Nehru. We got to our channels of communication open. That would

Q. What is ideal J&K for you?
Omar : peace and brotherhood of the pre-1989 days and progress an development of Kerala and Gujarat in the 21st century. This is not an easy task, But it ns a golden opportunity for us to deliver. This government would be representative of al regions, peoples of all age groups .

Q. Did PDP president Mehbooba Mufti congratulate you?
Omar : Yes , on a TV channel. Not the way I did when I visited their place in 2002.