General Bus Stand-Jammu

Omar shoring up his own image, Will the Gamble pay off or cost Omar dearly?

Ahead of the 2014 hectic poll season Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been sincerely trying to shore up his image in the eyes of the people of Jammu region.

To help him make inroads and consolidate position of the party his close aides are also toiling hard.

Some are regularly organising small public meetings to propagate his message to the people while others are working behind closed doors to gather support of leaders from other parties.

A total number of 56 projects
have been sanctioned for
Jammu province under
Central funding amounting
Rs 235.42 crore.

Patting his own back at public gatherings Omar has been circulating details of pet developmental projects which were either started during his tenure or were commissioned by him for the welfare of the people of Jammu region.

By doing this course correction at the fag end of his term in office Omar is toeing with the idea of reaping political dividends in the election year and rewriting the history.

Despite clear cut understanding of complex political landscape Omar and his coterie are bent upon fiddling with the idea of teasing mind space of a traditional voter.

The target is to somehow make inroads and breach the long wall of political divide between the two distinct regions of the state.

Speaking at a public rally in Jammu Omar recently claimed that some of the leaders in the state have propagated wrong impression that Jammu would develop only if they had the Chief Minister at the State from their region.

“This is absolutely wrong impression. What I have done for Jammu is an example of this (the wrong notion). Jammu can boast off the projects we have given to it. All this has been done by a Chief Minister, who hailed from Kashmir region. But I don’t consider myself as a Chief Minister of one region. I’m a Chief Minister of entire Jammu and Kashmir and I have ensured equal development of all three regions-Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.”

Twenty three projects
have been completed
and the remaining 33
are at various stages
of completion.

Besides to supplement
the Central funding annually on
an average Rs 25 crore are
being provided under State
Plan for raising of tourist related
infrastructure in Jammu province.

For long both Kashmir based political parties National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have been signing similar tunes when it comes to wooing electorate of Jammu region but both these parties, despite having different generations of political workers working for them they have failed to create strong cadre and an emotional appeal among the masses.

Lack of second generation leadership has adversely affected the capacity building of these political parties to tap the potential voters in the region. These parties only command support in pockets dominated by old loyalists in frontier border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and in hilly districts of Doda and Kishtwar.

Bikram Chowk Flyover-Jammu
Bikram Chowk Flyover

It is for this reason the political parties have failed to increase their vote percentage or seats in the state assembly.

Congress party, despite remaining in alliance with both the parties in the last over one decade has managed to retain its vote share and this time eyeing the larger pound of flesh to occupy the driver’s seat.

Clamor within party for more bigger role in the 2014 Assembly polls has prevented the party high command from forging any pre-poll alliance with Omar led National Conference in the state.

Soon after Omar got clear hints and read the writing on the wall he along with his coterie has devised this strategy of taking equal credit for anything associated with the development of the region and has managed to create a confusion in the minds of local people about the role of their elected representatives from Jammu region.

Omar claims we have given Jammu

• Fly Over project.
• Runway expansion of Airport.
• Gandola Cable Car Project.
• 4th bridge over river Tawi.
• Artificial lake on Tawi river.
• Central University.
• Jammu Golf Course.
• Multi-storey parking at General Bus Stand.

 It remains to be seen whether in the coming days Omar will continue to only take credit for laying foundation stones only or these much delayed projects would see light of the day and help improve day to day life of people of Jammu region.

Major projects in the pipeline, not yet ready

Despite tall claims made by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah the completion of several Jammu based projects continue to hang in balance. To begin with artificial lake project, expansion of Jammu airport, Bikram Chow fly over continue to face red tape and lack of funds.

In November 2013 Omar had claimed that the work on the Artificial Lake is going on in full swing and we are hopeful to have the Lake in Jammu by March, next year. In last week of January the state assembly was informed by the Tourism Minister that the project may be delayed in the absence of timely release of funds.

The restoration of historic Mubarak Mandi complex is going on at a snail’s pace.

No dead line has been fixed for the Gandola project connecting Peer Kho temple complex with MahaMaya and Bahu Fort.

Work on the Bikram Chowk fly over is going on. Work on new Legislative complex building also going on. 

Published in the latest edition of Jammu Redefining Magazine

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