Omar Abdullah, the first Kashmiri politician to pioneer the use of social media for political outreach, has fallen silent on his favorite miro-blogging site Twitter and has not made any political comment for more than three weeks now.
The National Conference vice-president and former chief minister has also avoided any commentary on yesterday’s exit of the Sajad Lone led People’s Conference from the unionist alliance, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration which marks the latest political development in J-K.
Abdullah has largely limited himself to commenting on the snowbound Gulmarg, weather related woes in Kashmir, and the administration’s inadequate response after the NC of fielding proxy candidates in the recently concluded District Development Council elections.
Abdullah has had an active run on Twitter during the last decade and used the social media site for quick commentaries on almost all political and apolitical issues. He currently has over 32 lakh followers. Abdullah’s last public statement was on 26 December 2020, when he held a press briefing accusing the J-K administration and the newly formed Apni Party of intimidating and coercing his party leaders to leave the NC.
Even as Addullah spoke to the Indian newspaper, the Indian Express, on a wide range of topics, he has chosen to not speak to his local audiences — Kashmiris. Earlier, he had given an interview to the Indian news portal, The Wire, wherein he said that he was “questioning continuing in politics.”
Abdullah’s first attempt at internet-driven interaction began in 2008 when he started blogging with the “hope to provoke debate, discussion and … some amount of self-improvement.” Five months later, however, he shut down the blog after being trolled for his comments on the situation in Jammu, where Hindu extremists had launched an intense anti-Muslim and anti-Kashmir agitation, blocking the national highway to choke the only supply-line for millions of Kashmiris
“I am going back to being an old school politician and you can read what I think in the newspapers,” Abdullah had written in his farewell post in 2008.