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Omar Abdullah stakes claim to form government

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
January 04, 2009 20:22 IST
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National Conference president Omar Abdullah on Sunday evening met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra in the winter capital Jammu and staked claim to form the government.

Omar was earlier chosen as the leader of the NC legislature party and state Congress president Saif-ud-Din Soz and another senior party leader Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam met Vohra and handed over a letter pledging the party's support to the NC.

The meeting was attended by the party patron and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and all the newly elected members.

Omar was accorded a rousing reception by thousands of his party supporters. The entire route from the airport to the Sheri-Kashmir Bhavan, the NC headquarters in the winter capital had been decorated with arches and buntings.

The swearing-in ceremony to be held at the Raj Bhavan lawns on Monday afternoon will see a small six member council of ministers headed by Omar Abdullah taking oath.

The council of ministers would be expended later and is likely to grow to 25.

The Congress and the BJP also elected their respective legislature party leaders - Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam and Chaman Lal Gupta, a former minister of state for defence in the National Democratic Alliance government.

The People's Democratic Party has formally de-linked itself from the UPA government after five years.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar