Srinagar: Taking active part in the party activities, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah undertook a train ride in Kashmir Valley to reconnect with the people after back to back losses in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls held last year. This is Abdullah’s second public appearance in three days. He appeared in commercial hub of Lal Chowk here on Wednesday, taking everyone present there by surprise.
“Farooq Abdullah boarded a train from (Nowgam) Srinagar to Anantnag where he offered prayers for party leader Abdul Gani Veeri, who passed away recently,” a NC spokesman said. During his visit, Abdullah, who recently returned home from the United Kingdom after undergoing successful kidney transplant last year, addressed the people who had gathered at the residence of the bereaved family, he said.
The former Chief Minister also interacted with people at both Nowgam and Anantnag railway stations. “People came up to the party president at various places and inquired about his health and also wished him good health. At some places, the people aired their grievances including pathetic conditions of the roads,” the spokesman said.
He said Abdullah, who has a ‘Z+’ security cover, took the train ride as the highway between Srinagar and Anantnag was in “very bad shape” due to floods last year. “The train has now become a very convenient mode of travel to south Kashmir,” the spokesman said.
A senior National Conference leader, on the condition of anonymity, said Abdullah is keen to revive the party fortunes in the state following the electoral debacles last year. “Although he is still recuperating, the party president wants to win over the people in general and supporters of National Conference in particular. You will be seeing more of him at public events in coming days,” the NC leader said.
Abdullah suffered first defeat of his political career, spanning nearly four decades when he lost the Lok Sabha polls to PDP’s Tariq Hamid Karra last year. NC was reduced to just 15 MLAs in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in state elections late last year, which is the lowest tally for the oldest regional party since its inception seven decades ago.