Candid Omar identifies the father of Akhilesh’s headaches

Candid Omar identifies the father of Akhilesh’s headaches

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 31, 2013 12:59 am

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 Akhilesh’s 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 Akhilesh’s.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) chief has repeatedly criticised his son’s one-year-old government,the latest public reprimand coming a week ago,when he invoked a comment by L K Advani to attack UP’s 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 Akhilesh’s 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 Omar’s uncle Sheikh Mustafa Kamal and Akhilesh’s 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 I’ll give it in person. The truth is that if Akhilesh is seen to be doing well it will benefit his father as well. It doesn’t help his father’s case if he himself makes a case for the fact that Akhilesh is not performing. It doesn’t help the Samajwadi Party.

“I think the best advice is the advice that is given that doesn’t appear on the front page of the newspaper the next day. I don’t know how Akhilesh reacts but if I had to read my dad’s advice to me in the newspaper,I would be so resentful that I wouldn’t follow it even if it was the best possible advice! I am being honest with you. I don’t know whether Akhilesh feels the same way,but it’s for him to decide. I don’t envy him,that’s all I’ll 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 aren’t tired of asking it…,” he said. “You know,I don’t have a schedule (of meeting my father) that I maintain to keep you guys happy. It’s not like I’ve got a date marked on my calendar that,Oh! I haven’t turned to my dad for 15 days,these guys are going to get all panicky about it…

“And I don’t know,other than grabbing him in a tight hug every time I see him,I don’t 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 hadn’t been a politician.

“You mean in the ideal world if I wasn’t a politician what would I be? I don’t know… I’ve always said I would’ve loved to have been Formula 1 driver,but that was never an option,so is that any less tougher than this? I wonder.”

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