The public meeting, which is being described here as the first genuine, credible poll meeting in nine years was addressed by Farooq Abdullah, who had gone to Pattan to solicit support for Molvi Iftekhar Hussain Ansari, who is contesting from Pattan constituency on a Congress ticket. The NC has decided to support Molvi Iftekhar Hussian Ansari.
Ansari introduced Abdullah at the meeting as the future Prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
A demand for change of nomenclature in respect of governor and Chief Minister as Sadar-e-Riyasat and Wazir-e-Aazam is also included in the autonomy demand of the NC.
Looking vibrant and beaming with confidence at the huge turnout, Abdullah told the crowd I shall get you what I promise. Those who promised you Azadi have instead bought themselves wealth, houses and now finally official protection from the government.
Speaking about pro-government militants whose disarming he has started pressing once again, Abdullah said, no civilian shall wield a weapon in my government. Only those in uniform and governed by a code of conduct can be trusted with a weapon.
The crowd at Pattan clapped at every word the NC President said, specially when he spoke of rule of law and disarming of militants of all hues. Among others who spoke at the meeting were Abdul Qayoom, who recently joined the NC. He told the crowd that we had painstakingly built the Janata Dal (JD), but it has now been hijacked.
Meanwhile, the most prominent Gujjar leader of the state, and the senior-most vice president of the Congress in J&K, Mian Bashir Ahmad, joined the NC along with his son Mian Altaf Ahmad, a former minister. Abdullah has described this as a good omen for the NC at the hustings.
Abdullah, who left for Kargil in the Ladakh region, is going to visit Sonawari constituency today to reinforce confidence in his party rank and file, who of late are coming under increased attacks from armed supporters of Kuka Parray, who is contesting the polls from Sonawari constituency.