With great power comes great responsibility. Even after three years as Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Omar Abdullah continues to display utter lack of political maturity. The current controversy over National Conference worker Sayeed Muhammad Yusuf's mysterious custodial death may cost Omar his chief ministership.
Yousuf (61), died in police custody on September 30, a day after he was summoned to the chief minister's residence to answer allegations that he took bribe to arrange for political posts. This is just the latest in a line of serious allegations levelled against him. Whether it is the unmarked graves issue or his comments on Afzal Guru's death penalty, Omar has invited criticism from the political class time and again.
Since becoming chief minister in 2009, Omar has been controversy's favourite child. He had landed himself in trouble sometime last year after reports emerged that he went an extra mile to facilitate the trip of former prime minister of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) -- Sultan Mehmood Chowdhary -- to Pahalgam. It was only last month that he was frontpaged for separating with his wife of 17 years, Payal Nath.
In July 2009, PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh accused Omar of being involved in the Habba Kadal sex scandal case of 2006. All these, as graver issues need Omar's urgent attention. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, aimed at providing all-weather road connectivity in rural areas, about Rs 450 crore was released. Only Rs 109.92 crore has been spent so far. Of the Rs 200 crore granted under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, the state government has returned Rs 100 crore. Unemployment has been steadily rising with 48 per cent of the youth in the state estimated to be jobless. When Omar Abdullah became chief minister in 2009 at the age of 38, the national press had heralded him as the beacon of hope for the Valley. But like with previous governments, the real issues of unemployment, infrastructure development, and boosting tourism have taken a backstage in his regime.