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Omar's Ganderbal exit stumps people

Omar
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Chief Minister Omar Abdullah\'s decision to quit family political bastion Ganderbal has come as a bolt from the blue -- both for his die-hard supporters as well as his detractors.

Srinagar:hief Minister Omar Abdullah's decision to quit family political bastion Ganderbal has come as a bolt from the blue -- both for his die-hard supporters as well as his detractors.
The regional National Conference (NC) Friday announced that Omar would not seek re-election from Ganderbal constituency but contest the Sonawar and Beerwah seats, one in Srinagar district and the other in the Badgam district of the Valley.
But Omar can only prove the political wisdom of his decision to quit Ganderbal by winning both or at least one of the two seats he has chosen away from the traditional family constituency.
There is no denying the fact that the NC has been severely jolted by the Abdullah family scion leaving his lair.
Omar took to Twitter over his decision: "Having decided two years ago that I wouldn't seek re-election from Ganderbal I have continued to work for the constituency and will always do so".
Commenting on his decision to fight from two seats, Omar said: "So when PM candidates do it we take it as a sign of weakness too or are we conspicuously silent at that time?"
Since 1975 when his grandfather and NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah returned to mainstream politics, the Sheikh stood from Ganderbal to enter the state assembly. He again fought from Ganderbal in 1977 and won.
This family tradition was followed by Omar's father Farooq Abdullah who fought from Ganderbal in 1983, 1987 and 1996, winning thrice in a row.
Omar was fielded by the NC in 2002, but lost to PDP's Qazi Muhammad Afzal, a defeat Omar avenged in 2008 by defeating the Qazi from Ganderbal to become the chief minister of the state.
The NC rank and file in Ganderbal are unhappy that Omar decided to leave the constituency to Sheikh Ashfaq Jabbar who had fought against him on a Congress ticket in the 2008 assembly election.
"It is not done. How can you leave Ganderbal after 39 years without even fighting?", wondered a senior NC leader from there who did not want to be named.
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