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That Stirring Speech

Shazia Ilmi provides a much needed intervention in the uncritical reactions of fanfare in the Indian Express:

Carpe diem — that Latin phrase means ‘seize the day’. Omar, like a sharp politician did just that. He seized his last national opportunity to reach out to his political constituency at the time when elections loom large and when the hangover of clashes over Amarnath ceases to abate. The short speech managed to press the right hot buttons -- Muslim identity, Gujarat riots and Amarnath shrine land transfer debacle. Bingo — the speech was sharp and smart just like the much-focussed politics of Omar Abdullah and National Conference (NC). Nothing noble or lofty about it, as some would have us believe.

Here are some déjà vu moments that one must recall:

August 27, 2006; The Times of India: “My biggest regret is that I did not resign when V P Singh was the PM and he sent that team’ In a stinging attack on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L. K. Advani over the 1999 Kandahar hijack episode, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah accused the then Prime Minister and Home Minister of compelling him to release Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar for which the “world will pay the price”. Abdullah, whose son Omar Abdullah was a minister during the NDA coalition’s rule: “I told Advani I am going to the Governor. And I went to Raj Bhavan with my resignation,” the then Chief Minister said. He, however, did not resign.

Wanting to resign and not quite being able to do is an art the National Conference has mastered. On the Gujarat riots, Omar insisted he should have resigned and he almost did, but not quite. Be it the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed , the Kandahar crisis, autonomy resolution for the state or the Gujarat riots, both Omar and his father have always managed to stop short of resigning! The pricking of their conscience in each case is almost always a tad late.

Read the full piece: Demagoguery apart

Shazia Ilmi provides a much needed intervention in the uncritical reactions of fanfare in the Indian Express:

Carpe diem — that Latin phrase means ‘seize the day’. Omar, like a sharp politician did just that. He seized his last national opportunity to reach out to his political constituency at the time when elections loom large and when the hangover of clashes over Amarnath ceases to abate. The short speech managed to press the right hot buttons -- Muslim identity, Gujarat riots and Amarnath shrine land transfer debacle. Bingo — the speech was sharp and smart just like the much-focussed politics of Omar Abdullah and National Conference (NC). Nothing noble or lofty about it, as some would have us believe.

Here are some déjà vu moments that one must recall:

August 27, 2006; The Times of India: “My biggest regret is that I did not resign when V P Singh was the PM and he sent that team’ In a stinging attack on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L. K. Advani over the 1999 Kandahar hijack episode, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah accused the then Prime Minister and Home Minister of compelling him to release Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar for which the “world will pay the price”. Abdullah, whose son Omar Abdullah was a minister during the NDA coalition’s rule: “I told Advani I am going to the Governor. And I went to Raj Bhavan with my resignation,” the then Chief Minister said. He, however, did not resign.

Wanting to resign and not quite being able to do is an art the National Conference has mastered. On the Gujarat riots, Omar insisted he should have resigned and he almost did, but not quite. Be it the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed , the Kandahar crisis, autonomy resolution for the state or the Gujarat riots, both Omar and his father have always managed to stop short of resigning! The pricking of their conscience in each case is almost always a tad late.

Read the full piece: Demagoguery apart

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