Politicians aren't worried about candles, care for votes: Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah
"Politicians are not worried about candles, they are far worried about your votes," Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said wryly before an audience comprising youth.

Addressing a 'Young Changemakers Conclave' organised under the aegis of the UN Information Centre in New Delhi, the 42-year-old chief minister made some candid comments in the backdrop of lighting of candles by protesters during the outpouring of anger at India Gate and Jantar Mantar here and across the country in the wake of the Delhi gangrape incident.

"Like it or not but politicians really aren't worried about candles...they really aren't, I wish they were but they are not. They are far more worried about how you vote," Omar said.

The National Conference leader said politicians generally tend to believe that public protest will die down at some point of time but if the general public is serious enough "it is impossible for politicians to ignore voices".

Omar also wanted greater participation of youth in efforts to usher in change.

"If you come out and make yourselves heard you will not be ignored. You will be able to drive the change that you want to see. But you don't. Then don't blame us for ignoring you because like it or not politicians will listen to voices that reach them.

If you remain silent or if you go along with things just because others do it then you won't be heard. Then you will not be a part of change. Then you will not be a part of solution," the chief minister said.

Omar said he believes that the present generation will vote for someone who performs.

"I think your generation is one which will rise above other considerations. You won't vote because you like the religion, caste (of a candidate)," he said. "I hope you don't vote because you like the looks of a politician," a blushing Omar added.

Omar said it is generally considered that public protests are like a bottle of soda where once the fizz is gone it is often a flat and tasteless liquid.

"You have to change that. You have to be a part of process so that we take you seriously," he said.

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