India Insight

Has Omar Abdullah taken on more than he can handle?

When Omar Abdullah took over as Kashmir’s youngest Chief Minister in January 2009, his coronation befitted a king.

Backed by a resurgent Congress party at the centre, 38-year-old Abdullah’s appointment was seen as a positive step towards bringing a fresh perspective to the troubled state’s political logjams.

That Abdullah came from a family of Kashmir’s best known politicians and was the third generation member to ascend to the post of CM made it imperative that he live up to the expectations of many who wanted an immediate solution to Jammu and Kashmir’s complex problems.

Born to a family that has witnessed political intrigue in the restive state for decades and had a history of alliances with the Congress, Abdullah was seen as the right candidate to a post many deemed as the ‘crown of thorns’.

Like all CMs before him, among the many problems he inherited, Abdullah needed to immediately address allegations of human rights violations, demands for repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, ensure better governance, maintain peace and stability in the region and continue dialogue with the separatists who boycotted elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Does India want its ‘Metro man’ to resign?

If the early comments on the Great Debate are anything to go by, it seems there is still a lot of goodwill towards Elattuvalapil Sreedharan.

The man behind the Delhi metro, seen as one of India’s most successful infrastructure projects, resigned on Sunday after part of a rail bridge in the capital collapsed and killed six people.

Sreedharan had enjoyed a towering profile as a civil engineer who got things done — and quickly. In the words of his spokesman, Sreedharan “can walk into the prime minister’s office. He has a reputation that he carries.”