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For Azad's family, the wait is finally over

By Onkar Singh in Srinagar
November 03, 2005 21:10 IST
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While Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha was administering the oath of office and secrecy to Ghulam Nabi Azad as the tenth chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, Azad's daughter Sophiya and wife Shamina Dev Azad were visibly elated.

Three years ago, Azad had come close to becoming the chief minister of the state but missed the opportunity by sheer providence when Sonia Gandhi chose to play the role of a benevolent leader and decided to install Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of the People's Democratic Party as the chief minister for a three-year period.

"He could not become the chief minister but we were not disappointed because in politics, there are ups and downs. And he became a powerful minister at the centre," conceded Sophiya, who aspires to be a journalist.

Both mother and the daughter admitted that this time around, when the news was finally broken to them that Azad would head the next government in Jammu and Kashmir, they were surprised and shocked.

"To be honest, I was a bit shocked at first but recovered. As far as the decision of making him chief minister is concerned, it is a party decision and I would not like to comment on it," Shamina Dev told after the swearing-in ceremony concluded.

But the daughter could not resist praising the Congress president.

"This is a good decision and my father, who dreams of doing something for his people, has now got an opportunity and I am sure he would deliver it. I am happy for my dad. When he was not the chief minister, even then I was happy for him. Of course, I would miss him because he would be busy working for the people of the state," said Sophiya.

As far as Shamina is concerned, she is used to the busy schedule of her husband.

"It makes no difference any more. We know he works honestly and sincerely for the people of his state and the people of India. What matters to me is that he is the chief minister of his own state," she said.

As the mother and daughter talked to, Gulam Nabi Azad was sitting with governor Sinha and giving him company over a cup of tea.

The media persons waited impatiently for him to give his first reaction after taking over but Azad did not mind chiding some of them for their over enthusiasm and told them to wait for atleast one hour before he could speak to them.

"Let me have my first cabinet meeting and then I shall meet you," he promised.

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Onkar Singh in Srinagar