National Conference: J&K’s oldest political party to witness big change on Sheikh’s anniversary

Dr Sahab won’t contest polls anymore: Tanvir Sadiq; Party fixes Dec 5 for Prez polls; Dr Farooq says will continue to head party till elections; Party leaders say Omar front runner for new chief’s post, but it can be anyone else too; Time to infuse new energy into party, will continue to benefit from Dr Sahab’s experience: NC leaders

Srinagar, Nov 18: National Conference Friday hinted that its incumbent chief and J&K’s senior most politician Dr Farooq Abdullah may take rest from politics and the new chief would lead the flock from December 5 this year, the day when the party will hold presidential polls.

The party in its poll notification has choosen December 5, the birth anniversary of its patriarch and founder late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, for electing new chief. Dr Farooq, however, will continue to remain the NC president till the new chief is elected by the delegates on December 5. “I haven’t stepped down yet. I will remain the NC chief till elections for the post of president are held,” the octogenarian leader told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), over phone. Dr Farooq was reacting to media reports suggesting that he has already stepped down as the NC chief.

As J&K has witnessed change in the political turf vis-à-vis politics post article 370 revocation on August 5, 2019, NC insiders said that party leadership from top to bottom felt the need to infuse new energy into the UT’s oldest party. “There was a yearning that the party needs to make some changes in the leadership and also at the lower and middle-rung level, so steps are afoot and electing a new president is part of the same rejuvenation process,” said one of the old guards of NC, wishing not to be named. He, however, said that the party will continue to benefit from “Dr Sahab’s decade’s old political career and his vast experience.” “In simple words, he will continue to guide us and we will continue to benefit from his political experience. Electing a new chief doesn’t mean, Dr Sahab will fly to London and settle there….,” he said.

NC Chief spokesman Tanvir Sadiq told KNO that Dr Farooq will not contest upcoming Assembly polls. “This is what Dr Farooq sahab feels about elections…… Let’s see what happens in the future,” he said. “Let elections take place on December 5, and we will have a new party chief. Party delegates will choose the new president.”

Interestingly, the party recently announced the names of constituency incharge for Kashmir in a bid to raise the morale of party cadre across the Valley. The new constituency heads are frequenting their areas and meeting people to gauge the ground situation, take feedback from workers and to formulate “a new strategy on the feedback received from ground zero.”

“The party is not in a sleeping mode and rather we are in touch with our workers. There is no denying the fact that post abrogation of article 370, the political atmosphere has changed and we being the oldest party, are seeking suggestions from our workers both old and new,” said a newly nominated constituency in charge of the party, wishing not to be named.

To a query whether Omar was set to take the control and lead the flock after December 5, he said the majority of the leaders in the party will obviously vote for Omar but “you never know….” “NC believes in democracy… May be someone else may emerge victorious as party chief….”

Party sources said that the name of new party chief will be announced by Dr Farooq himself at the mausoleum of the party founder Sheikh Abdullah at Hazratbal, Srinagar on December 05—(KNO)