Omar mediated between Farooq and NDA
30 August 2001
New Delhi: Mr Omar Abdullahís reported intervention saved NDA the embarrassment of facing an angry Dr Farooq Abdullah after the Prime Ministerís Independence Day speech. The chief minister was visibly angry at the Centreís hint that the elections in J&K over the years had not been free and fair and there was a need to hold free and fair elections in which everyone could participate without fear. Adding insult to injury, Mr LK Advani, clarified that elections had actually not been fair. Dr Abdullah had threatened to walk out of the NDA, if this was the impression of its leadership. Mr Omar Abdullah reportedly spoke to his father on the need to exercise restraint as an NDA ally. This perhaps explains the reason for the chief minister toning down his threat, a source said. Some NDA leaders even said differences had arisen between the father and son on the attitude the National Conference should adopt towards the NDA. With his new found importance, Abdullah junior actually asked his father to tone down his criticism. He is reportedly the one leading the NDA chorus for more discipline among allies, including the National Conference, one NDA leader said. His maxim is stick to rules even before the code of conduct is ready, unlike others who wish to use the time gap to vent their anger openly. Mr Omar Abdullah was put in a spot when his reported criticism of Miss Mamata Banerjee at the recent NDA coordination committee meeting was made public. Along with Mrs Maneka Gandhi he led the chorus of demand for an apology by Miss Banerjee as a condition for her re-entry. He denied it later to save his position and reportedly asked some BJP leaders how things said inside had come out in the open. Mr George Fernandes rescued Mr Omar Abdullah by saying that the issue would be resolved at a meeting between Dr Farooq Abdullah and the Prime Minister. He also said Dr Abdullah could not attend the meeting as he had to attend the last rites of one of his ministers.