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Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls: After 32 years, an election without Dr Farooq Abdullah

Dr Abdullah, 78, has not been in good health for the last few years. After keeping him on dialysis, the doctors have now decided for a kidney replacement.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 06, 2014, 05.01 AM IST
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Dr Abdullah, 78, has not been in good health for the last few years. After keeping him on dialysis, the doctors have now decided for a kidney replacement. 
Dr Abdullah, 78, has not been in good health for the last few years. After keeping him on dialysis, the doctors have now decided for a kidney replacement. 
SRINAGAR: J&K is missing Dr Farooq Abdullah. A leading figure in the state for almost four decades, Dr Abdullah has been rendered inactive because of his ill health. He will be operated upon in London shortly. “My father (Farooq Abdullah) is unwell,” CM and NC working president said, adding “He is not there to advise me. He will not campaign for the NC.”

Dr Abdullah, 78, has not been in good health for the last few years. After keeping him on dialysis, the doctors have now decided for a kidney replacement. Reports suggest that his British wife Molly is donating him a kidney.

But his absence from the electoral scene would be greatly felt on ground. Four-time CM, Dr Abdullah had won LS polls once and has been a Rajya Sabha member since 2002. He held a cabinet portfolio in UPA-II. Dr Abdullah knew the art of engaging masses, playing to the galleries and retaining whatever a situation would throw up. But that did not help him win against PDPs Tariq Hameed Karra in the last Lok Sabha polls.

Since then, Dr Abdullah is staying away from public life; mostly busy managing his health issues. “Personally, I miss him,” says PDP lawmaker Naeem Akhter. “His son exhibits such a bad contrast to him that one starts loving Dr Abdullah.” Akhter, who has worked with Dr Abdullah, says the father and son are two completely different personalities.

Unlike Omar, Akhter said, the father is large-hearted, charming and politically intelligent. “On the political scene, there were times when Kashmir looked uni-polar because of him,” says Akhter. “His absence from the scene is a big change.”

Son of Sheikh Abdullah, the lion of Kashmir, Dr Abdullah was a medical doctor and apparently not interested in politics when his father crowned him as his successor and president of NC on August 21, 1981. Soon after he was elected to LS. A year later when Sheikh passed away, Farooq became the Chief Minister. As he allied with the staunch anti-Congress movement across India, Delhi took advantage of the family dispute, purchased loyalties of his lawmakers and installed his brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah as CM. With Indira Gandi assassinated, Dr Abdullah allied with Rajiv and became the CM again in 1986.

A year later, the Congress-NC coalition resorted to ‘massive rigging’ in 1987 polls to retain power. Though Dr Abdullah became the Chief Minister but the rise of militancy led to his resignation in 1990. After six years, Dr Abdullah was Chief Minister again with the massive majority in house.

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