Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday paid rich tributes to National conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 107th birth anniversary and vowed to take his mission of "naya" and "khushaal" Jammu and Kashmir forward.
"I think we cannot pay a better tribute to baba-e-quom (father of the nation, Sheikh Abdullah) today than by pursuing the path shown by him and fulfill his dream of Khushaal (prosperous) and Naya (new) Jammu and Kashmir," Omar said while addressing party workers at the mausoleum of his grandfather Abdullah on the banks of Dal Lake.
Omar, his cabinet colleagues and senior party functionaries joined hundreds of people to pay floral tributes to Sheikh Abdullah, popularly known Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir).
In an apparent reference to opposition PDP and separatists, Omar said there has been an attempt to portray Abdullah in bad light and defame him.
"There has been an attempt to portray Sheikh Abdullah in bad light and defame him, his works in the eyes of the people to show what he was not. Sheikh sahab always thought about the people and this nation," the chief minister said.
Lashing out on Abdullah`s detractors, Omar defended his grandfather for the agreements he had with New Delhi for the benefit of the people of the state.
"This is the only state where the tillers were given owning rights to the land without any agitation. Many parts of the country are still devoid of education, but Abdullah ensured establishment of higher education institutions in the state," he said.
Referring to the Panchayati Raj system in the state, the chief minister said Abdullah had dreamt of transferring power to grassroots level.
"The mission for empowering panchayats is not just our mission, it was the mission of the one whom we are paying tributes today (Sheikh Abdullah). He always said that people are the power and through them only can everything be achieved," Omar said.
Omar said that the NC founder was of the view that the power should not be kept in government offices, but should be delegated to people.
Omar`s father and Union minister Farooq Abdullah was not present as Parliament is in session and the Lok Sabha is to take up a vote on a motion against FDI.