Thursday, March 3, 2011

‘Abused’ as a blogger, Omar takes to tweeting to resume his story

‘Abused’ as a blogger, Omar takes to tweeting to resume his story


Two years after he quit blogging following “a heap of personal abuse”, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is back on the Internet, this time connecting with the people through social networking site Twitter. Omar keeps tweeting through the day, talking about his daily engagements, announcing government decisions, airing his opinions on the day’s issues and responding to queries and suggestions from his online followers.



At times, he posts about waking up feeling a “bit of a zombie”. He also tweets about his daily schedule, which could give nightmares to his security personnel. Be it about a district development board meeting, a security review, a party function or a visit somewhere, Omar ensures he keeps his followers posted.


Once, one of the followers asked how he managed to tweet so often through his busy schedule. Omar responded, “You take a break to go to the loo, I take one to tweet.”



Some of his tweets can make one feel almost part of Omar’s functioning as the Chief Minister. “Heading to the Assembly for the Governor’s address. I’m sure some of my ‘friends’ have some drama planned,” he tweeted on Monday morning. Two hours later, he added: “Now flying to the valley for a public meeting. Back this afternoon for the oath ceremony of the State Chief Information Commissioner.”


His slot on Twitter has only 9,527 followers but it has largely helped dispel the impression that he is an introvert, something that had been held against him during the unrest last year.


He tweets individually with his followers. He responds to queries, suggestions, grievances and to jokes about his dress. A follower wrote, “Omar plz consult someone for your dress code... ur tie is always mismatching ur suit”; Omar replied, “Would that be ties or suits because I’d rather not wear bright colored suits. I’d look like Govinda in one of David Dhawan’s movies.”


To a post about his hair, the CM responded, “I don’t have much of that left to let down. I’m rapidly joining the ranks of the bald & the beautiful.”


His take on World Cup commentary is: “I love Shastri’s comments - 1 weakness in Indian lineup, the bowling & the fielding. Urrr, that’s 2 & there’s not much left then, is there?”.


Omar was the first politician in the state to start blogging through 2008. Then in opposition, Omar blogged about the prevailing political situation in the state, offering his personal takes about the way the unrest over the Amarnath land row was being handled. He often came up with candid commentary on the conflict over the state, and once defended the decision of his grandfather Sheikh Abdullah to accede with India.


“Some will argue that his decision in 1947 was wrong — looking at the present state of Pakistan and the side of Kashmir with it, I can’t see how they can justify that argument. Was independence an option? Sure let’s ask the Tibetans about how it is to survive as an independent country with China, India and Pakistan for neighbours,” he wrote.


The CM’s fresh tryst with the web is two months old.

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