Is It Rahul-Omar Accord This Time?

23 July 2008
Anil Anand

Srinagar: National Conference (NC) chief Omar Abdullah throwing his lot behind the UPA to defend the N-deal in Lok Sabha on Tuesday is indicative of his party cozying up to arch rival Congress in Jammu and Kashmir. The spirited defence of the deal by Omar, who during the trust vote on Tuesday expressed regrets for not parting ways with the NDA after the Gujarat carnage and vowed to never join the BJP-led combine, has paved the way for a possible Congress- NC tie-up for the state Assembly polls slated in October. Omarís calculated overtures towards the Congress-led UPA refreshed memories of the 1986 accord between his father Farooq Abdullah and the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Could it be a Rahul-Omar accord this time around? The NC chief grabbed the opportunity in parliament on Tuesday to send a message to his electorates of his secular credentials. He probably needed to do that because he had been under fire from PDP leaders especially Mehbooba Mufti for not quitting the NDA government when Gujarat was burning. Young MPs, led by Assaduddin Owaisi of the All-India Itehadul Muselmeen and Omar, reportedly threatened to back out from supporting the vote if deprived the opportunity to speak. The argument was that since no Muslim MP from the Congress had spoken on the deal, they must get a chance to reach out to the community via Doordarshan to convince them.