Published On: Sat, Feb 4th, 2017

Controversy’s Favourite Child

When Dr Farooq Abdullah openly backed Hurriyat on his father’s birth anniversary, people wondered if this was political opportunism or change of heart. With his second book on the cards, one can expect a deluge of sensational disclosures and controversies 

 

NC Patron Dr Farooq Abdullah

Politicians often court controversies with their comments and actions. Though they may not mean what they say, it’s enough to draw media attention.  In 2016, many politicians made headlines for their controversial statements. Former chief minister and National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah was not to be left far behind. True to his nature, Dr Farooq came up with some rather unexpected statements that bewildered his admirers and adversaries alike.

 

The most astounding statement came on the occasion of his father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s 111th birth anniversary when he asked the Hurriyat to unite for the cause of Kashmir while pledging his support in this respect.

 

“I ask these Hurriyat leaders to unite. We are standing by your side at this hour. Don’t think of us as your adversaries. We are not your adversaries.”

 

He then went on to address his party workers saying, “Don’t stay behind in this struggle of Kashmir.” Referring to Hurriyat leadership, he said, “We have struggled before and wasted our whole life on this (Kashmir issue). I am telling you from this sacred place: ‘Move ahead, we are with you until you keep treading the right path. And until you can guide this nation on the right path.”

 

A question arises: Was it sheer political opportunism on Farooq’s part or was it a genuine change of heart? To answer this question, we need to look into his past, particularly his habit of coming up with controversial statements.  In fact, Farooq has remained controversy’s favourite child. Love him, hate him, but you just can’t ignore him.

 

On November 25, Farooq evoked sharp criticism from BJP and other “custodians of nationalism” when he questioned India’s claim on Pakistan-administered Kashmir and said that Kashmir isn’t her paternal property. “Kya yeh tumare baap ka hai (Is this your fathers’ property),” Farooq shouted at a function.

Such statements come in stark contrast to some of his earlier remarks about Pakistan where he even went to the extent of calling for carrying out bombing across the border.

 

Some years back, Dr Farooq was quoted as saying, ‘Kashmiris are Maha chor’. This remark created quite a stir with angry reactions coming from politicians and people alike. Although he denied having said anything like that, people who have seen him making even worse comments knew he could stoop to any low.

 

In 2013 when the atmosphere in India was charged up after the Delhi rape case and everyone called for stricter laws to protect women, Dr Farooq stirred hornet’s nest by saying he was afraid of talking to women for fear of ending up in jail.

 

“These days, I am afraid of talking to women. In fact, I don’t even want to keep a woman secretary, God forbid, if there’s a complaint against me and I end up in jail. Such is the state of affairs today. I agree that incidents of rape have increased…but this has to stop somewhere,” he said. As usual, Farooq later claimed his remarks had been misconstrued.

 

Another case in point is when Congress leader Raj Babbar had claimed that one can have a full meal for Rs.12 in Mumbai. If the remark was derogatory, Farooq Abdullah made it worse, claiming that even one rupee was enough for a day. “One can eat for Re.1, if desired. It depends on the common man how much they can afford and they have to manage in that only,” he said, drawing sharp criticism for mocking the poor people. Again, after creating a furore, Farooq issued a statement regretting his comment.

 

People still remember the controversy Farooq raked up in Kashmir by saying the liquor shops and cinemas should be opened in the valley. Given the religious sensitivity of the place, his remarks evoked widespread resentment.

 

More recently, he hogged the headlines by asking people to take money from every party but only vote for NC.

 

The three-time chief minister is reportedly writing a book on Kashmir with some “explosive content” on the political developments in the valley. Farooq’s first book ‘My Dismissal’ which was published in 1985 was full of disclosures about the events leading to his dismissal as Chief Minister in 1984. According to sources quoted by the local daily, Rising Kashmir, Farooq has not been happy with his image and he has realised that he has not come anywhere close to the charisma of his father Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who had become popular among the masses in Kashmir as Sher-e-Kashmir.

 

In fact, the Rising Kashmir report quotes NC insiders saying that Farooq’s verbal support to the Hurriyat leaders is a step in gaining the attention and popularity among people. “He knows the hearts of Kashmiris beat for the Hurriyat and that they represent the real aspirations of the people. With this realisation, Farooq had a year back decided to pen down events in Kashmir,” the report quoted sources in NC as saying. His second book may also throw some light on his opinion about his son Omar Abdullah’s political career.

 

In this backdrop, one can expect his new book to be full of sensational disclosures.  When a politician becomes conscious of his image, he is likely to admit his mistakes to repair the bad image in order to create a new and favourable image. Looking forward to more controversies from the old doctor!

The author can be contacted at suhaillife@gmail.com

 

About the Author

Suhail Ahmad

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
Close