After National Conference (NC) met its Waterloo in parliamentary elections, revamp and reshuffle in the party was on cards. Though the head’s twitter is still loud; but for a ‘change,’ doors of his durbar have been unbolted for ‘bridging the gaps’. And then, a ‘change’ also overtook the party hierarchy, when Ali Mohammad Sagar replaced Sheikh Nazir as NC General Secretary (GS). Many say, NC’s high voltage post is akin to acid test for the party’s city face, whose constituency (Khanyar) was retained by NC in recently held Lok Sabha elections.
Sagar pledged that he would pull out his party from difficulties. But political observers say, the way senior party leadership was castigated for parliamentary poll debacle, the new party position is likely to unnerve MLA Khanyar. Already another senior NC man and state finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather invited bad press and was ‘demonised’ for NC’s poll debacle. And, if party sources are to be believed, then the oldies in Sheikh Abdullah founded NC might have a tough time to retain their berths in the party after upcoming state Assembly elections.
But NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah has thrown all his support behind Sagar by saying that nobody will interfere in his work. At the same time, Omar Abdullah says, Sagar was chosen for this highly taxing job – “because we believe that he will put all his efforts in strengthening the party.” So, the message is clear: Sagar has been primarily chosen as the NC’s ‘crisis manager’. But in the uncertain political arena, even crisis managers taste dust! The instance of Ghulam Nabi Azad – otherwise known as, the ‘crisis manager’ of congress is glaringly fresh in public memories.
A postgraduate minister in Omar’s cabinet, Sagar shares his birth-year (1953) with the historic incarceration of NC founder, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. In 1983, he was appointed as GS of Youth NC. And in the same year, he was first elected to the Assembly and since then, has remained invincible.
Now after assuming the charge of the party’s GS, Sagar said NC has seen the worse, and that in 1990 people ostracized the party, “but we staged a comeback. And, NC will overcome hard times.”
But hard times for his party seem far from over at the moment. But, will steps taken by Sagar and Co. on a war footing take his party out of political quagmire? To know that, one has to wait for a while. But if political wave is any indication, then the task for Sagar seems indeed Herculean!
– Bilal Handoo