Ganderbal: In his first appearance in Ganderbal after deciding not to seek re-election from the constituency, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said he had realised that time had come for the people to have their "own representative".
"For 40 years, my family ? my grandfather, my father and me ? have been asking for votes for themselves from this constituency and it is for the first time that I am seeking votes from here for anyone other than the family," Omar said while addressing an election rally here.
"I slowly realised that time has come that Ganderbal needs a representative from the area only. That a NC candidate must belong to the area," he said.
Saying that the decision to skip Ganderbal was not an easy one, the Chief Minister asserted that "it was not taken under any compulsion".
"This decision was not an easy one. I did not take this decision under emotions or under any threat or compulsion," he said.
Recalling that the seat was being represented by three generations of his family, he said "for the last three years, I slowly realised that the people of Ganderbal have done so much for my family. You gave us votes and never asked us that when you are from Srinagar, why ask for votes from Ganderbal. We asked you for votes, you gave them".
Omar said even though he was not contesting the elections from the constituency, Ganderbal enjoyed a huge place in his heart.
"I am not contesting elections from Ganderbal, but the huge place that Ganderbal enjoys in my heart will not be in any one else's heart. And wherever I would be, whichever chair I be occupying, I will try my best to take forward the developmental works of Ganderbal," Omar said.
Earlier, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had yesterday taken a dig at Omar's decision not to contest from Ganderbal, saying he has conceded defeat even before a vote has been cast in the Assembly elections.
"Ganderbal has in fact announced the result of entire state by making Omar Abdullah, head of the outgoing government, to run away from here in pursuit of a safe seat," Mehbooba had said addressing a road show in Ganderabal.
"Even knowing that I would not contest from Ganderbal, I gave the constituency a parting gift as I signed a Rs 820 crore 90 megawatt new hydro-electric project just two days before the model code of conduct came into effect," he said.
The NC working president said that after being elected to the legislature from here in 2008 he tried his best to settle the debt of the people.
"I lost the elections from here (in 2002), but I did not go away. I returned in Parliament elections (in 2003) to try my luck and you made me a winner. Then I fought the election of 2008 from here and tried my best to settle the debt of the people of Ganderbal," he said.
"Your expectations from the MLA that he should be around ... For wedding ceremonies or funerals... For each happy moment or the moment of sadness, I could not do that much and for that I would have apologised to you but time did not permit me. However, I did not lack in developmental works," he said.