Omar Abdullah does not agree that he has the toughest chief ministerial job in India. That responsibility,the chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir believes,is shouldered by his young counterpart in Lucknow. And the reason: Mulayam Singh Yadav,the father of many of Akhileshs headaches.
Speaking with his trademark candour and a not-insignificant dollop of jest,Omar told journalists of the Express Group this week that he would have freaked out if his father New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah had made as many adverse comments about his government as Mulayam Singh did about Akhileshs.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) chief has repeatedly criticised his sons one-year-old government,the latest public reprimand coming a week ago,when he invoked a comment by L K Advani to attack UPs record in enforcing law and order.
Akhilesh has a much tougher job than I do. Honestly,I would freak out if my father made as many public comments about my governance as poor Akhileshs father makes about his, Omar said in response to a question about the two young chief ministers and their larger-than-life fathers at The Idea Exchange programme at The Indian Express.
He added,I have uncles as well,in case you missed it.
Both Omars uncle Sheikh Mustafa Kamal and Akhileshs uncle Shivpal Yadav have embarrassed their state governments with their statements in the past.
Asked if he had some advice for Akhilesh,Omar said,I have got a lot of advice but Ill give it in person. The truth is that if Akhilesh is seen to be doing well it will benefit his father as well. It doesnt help his fathers case if he himself makes a case for the fact that Akhilesh is not performing. It doesnt help the Samajwadi Party.
I think the best advice is the advice that is given that doesnt appear on the front page of the newspaper the next day. I dont know how Akhilesh reacts but if I had to read my dads advice to me in the newspaper,I would be so resentful that I wouldnt follow it even if it was the best possible advice! I am being honest with you. I dont know whether Akhilesh feels the same way,but its for him to decide. I dont envy him,thats all Ill say. Everybody says mine is the toughest job in the country but I think his is tougher.
Omar poked fun at the constant media speculation about his alleged disagreements with Farooq Abdullah.
Honestly,I get tired of answering it but clearly you guys arent tired of asking it…, he said. You know,I dont have a schedule (of meeting my father) that I maintain to keep you guys happy. Its not like Ive got a date marked on my calendar that,Oh! I havent turned to my dad for 15 days,these guys are going to get all panicky about it…
And I dont know,other than grabbing him in a tight hug every time I see him,I dont know what else I can do… I am conscious to the point of almost insanity every time my dad and I are on stage together,that if I sit like this and not like this,how will it be read…!
Omar also revealed what he would have liked to have been if he hadnt been a politician.
You mean in the ideal world if I wasnt a politician what would I be? I dont know… Ive always said I wouldve loved to have been Formula 1 driver,but that was never an option,so is that any less tougher than this? I wonder.