After 3 decades, Abdullahs say goodbye to home turf Ganderbal

The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s decision not to fight from his home turf Ganderbal has finally put an end to over three-decade streak of Abdullahs to fight from the family bastion.Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Abdullah walks with his father Farooq Abdullah, president of the NC party, before submitting his resignation to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Vohra in Srinagar
Abdullahs’ date with the Ganderbal constituency dates back to 1975 when Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah fought the bi-elections from there after the Indira-Abdullah Accord and won. Since then, Ganderbal has been a stronghold of Abdullahs. Sheikh also won the 1977 election from there.
Sheikh’s son, Farooq Abdullah later won the Assembly elections from Ganderbal in 1983, 1987 and 1996.
In 2002, Omar Abdullah fought his first assembly election from Ganderbal but lost to PDP’s Qazi Muhammad Afzal. However in 2008 assembly elections, Omar successfully won from the bastion against Afzal with a huge vote margin.
While it would be after three generations and 39 years that Abdullahs won’t be fighting from Ganderbal, the Friday’s decision from the ruling National Conference that Omar has quit the home turf and opted Sonwar and Beerwah segments instead, only triggered a “tremor” in political and non-political circles in Kashmir.
For the past sometime, the voices of dissent in Ganderbal against National Conference had only grown with alleged internal bickering in the party there resulting in many senior voices openly coming out against it.
The party suffered a blow when Ghulam Ahmad Saloora—one of Omar’s trusted lieutenants, quit the party alleging that it neglected the family bastion over the years. The trouble only grew for the party when its another top worker from the constituency, Muhammad Yusuf Bhat, ended his association with it and decided to join Congress. He has ultimately ended up winning the Congress mandate for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
Today, the NC’s decision to give mandate to ex-Congress leader Sheikh IshfaqJabbar from Ganderbal is seen more of a compulsion for the party, at least by many of its leaders, as he had reportedly threatened to leave National Conference if he wasn’t given the poll ticket. Ignoring Ishfaq, according to some NC leaders, would have further worsened the situation for the party which is facing a multi-faceted contest in Ganderbal.

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