Right mix, will it blend?

 At the simplest level, the doubts that were being expressed about his being in charge have been set to rest.

The composition of the cabinet expansion is a not only a statement of his personal assertion within his own party but also within the coalition. The latter is more significant than the former.
However the import of this expansion goes beyond symbolisms. There is a fair amount of substance in the fact that he has now started operationalising the transition to the coming to power of the new generation. J&K must be only state in India where the average age of the council of Ministers is less than 50.
All the ministers of state have been handpicked by Omar Abdullah and one defining criteria is youth. And to the last man they are all his own men who bear personal loyalty to him. In the process, he has created a band of young turks who are seemingly dying to deliver and get things moving. It is important to notice that even Congress has played along with him and given him youngsters to work with. It is absolutely the right mix.
The old guard may have been marginalized but they have not been vanquished. Not that one expected them to. The next big challenge is how to blend the old guard with the young turks. Here Omar Abdullah has to show a lot of maturity, if not guile. The old syndicate of Rather, Ramzan and Uri, defanged for the moment will come at him, most likely through the party. It is here he needs to do to the party what he has done to the government, make it younger and newer. This will take a bit of more of time.
With the cabinet in place, the first set of administrative changes, in the police, were also very significant. The changes, widely hailed, reflected a lot of thought and correct inputs. This indicated that the government is thinking and not stumbling or reacting. The action against the MD PCC was also very revealing of the new order and ethics not to speak about the assertion. It is well known that the officer had the patronage of Omar’s predecessor. Ghulam Nabi Azad. In his instant removal, the Chief Minister not only showed administrative action but also political power. This would not have been worth noticing in a one party rule, but in a coalition such sensitivities and considerations often constrain administrative action.
And as they say, fortune favours the brave. This week Maisuma turned out to be a crime not human rights matter and Shopian got dispersed for the moment. The mood has swung right in his favour. All he now needs to do is to deliver.     


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