Mr. Omar Abdullah-the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir- born in March 10, 1970 held the distinction of being the youngest chief minister of India till recently. The scion of Kashmir’s first family- a family that needs no introduction- and the offspring of Ms.Mollie Abdullah and Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Mr. Omar Abdullah stands as a metaphor for hope, change and dynamism.
Occupying and sharing space that is usually held by senior politicians and leaders, Mr. Abdullah reflects the aspirations, hopes and yearnings of a young, vibrant and dynamic India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. His youthful vigor, intuition, inspiring leadership and dynamism is a picture perfect reflection of the new India.
Catapulted onto politics during the late nineties(1998), Mr. Abdullah was elected to the twelfth Lok Sabha- the lower house of the Indian parliament- from the Srinagar Budgam constituency. Owing to the vagaries of politics, he was again elected to the thirteenth Lok Sabha in 1999. He held the important and challenging ministerial portfolios at the Centre. Mr. Abdullah, first served as Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and then as the Minister of State, the Ministry of External Affairs. So impressive was his stint and tenure in both ministries, that he got re-elected to the fourteenth Lok Sabha in 2004.
Mr. Abdullah cut his teeth in the party apparatus and organization of the party he led and headed: the National Conference. He started off as the president of the youth wing of the party and then went onto become the party president. He handed over the reins of the party to his father, Dr. Farooq Abdullah after becoming the Chief Minister. However, in 2012, he became working president of the party. Mr. Abdullah, on account of his diverse and varied experiences, holds multiple vantage points and perspectives which can only be of great utility to the people of India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr. Abdullah’s political philosophy and beliefs are fresh, dynamic, and poignant and reflect the nature of his personality. At the same time, these are characterized by sobriety and prudence. In combination, they are the distilled essence of wisdom, intuition and insight. Mr. Abdullah believes that the state as the repository of power and authority should be always of and for the people. And working towards public good the goal of every public servant; himself included. He encapsulates these beliefs and has left the imprimatur of his political philosophy on all domains of government.
Being a passionate believer and staunch advocate of transparency, accountability and responsibility in governance, Mr. Abdullah has pioneered and helped in establishing institutions like the State Information Commission, the State Accountability Commission and the Vigilance Commission. The premise for establishing and empowering these institutions is to inject transparency in government and governance, hold the government accountable and ensure a corruption and smear free government. There are top down initiatives designed to improve both government and governance in the state.
Mr. Abdullah does not believe in government that only runs through decrees and fiats. He holds in feed back loops to the government, bottoms up initiatives and overall empowerment of the citizenry. Towards these ends, he has been instrumental in establishing the Public Service Guarantee Act, the Right to Information Act and Panchayati Raj Instititions. All these bring government closer to the people and have brought about a qualitative transformation of government and governance.
Mr. Abdullah’s economic philosophy corresponds to the soft hearts and hard minds formulation. He believes in equal opportunity and equality of opportunity, dignity of labor and work and wants every citizen of the state to lead a dignified and meaningful life. In terms of economic development, the mantra of the Mr. Abdullah is sustainable and integrated development where environmental and ecological concerns are integrated into the development framework and paradigm.
In terms of political economy, going against the trend of the times, that is, market fundamentalism, Mr. Abdullah believes in a balance between the state and markets. He has emphasized upon the building and generating of human and intellectual capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and encouraged the participation of the educated youth in self employment with support from the state. The institution and establishment of the Sher e Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY) encapsulates this economic philosophy.
Mr. Abdullah is also a sport loving and adventurous person. He loves outdoor sports like river rafting, tennis, skiing, scuba diving and motor cross driving.