SRINAGAR: The Lok Sabha poll debacle continues to haunt the National Conference with Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah worried about his prospects from the Ganderbal constituency. Sources said that he is searching for a safer Assembly seat.

Top sources told The Citizen that the National Conference has kept two assembly segments - Sonwar and Hazratbal at Abdullah’s disposal and urged him to contest from both the seats; however preference will be given to Sonwar constituency.

The sources said that the chief minister and the NC itself is seriously worried about the forthcoming Assembly elections, after his father Farooq Abdullah’s defeat from the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. If Omar Abdullah meets with the same fate in the state elections, it will have a major adverse impact on the party itself.

The NC is going through a tough phase in state politics with the morale of the workers low. The authoritarian and inaccessible functioning of top leaders has become a cause of concern, with NC seniors now meeting workers, and former members to regain their support. Meetings have been held in most districts of Jammu and Kashmir, with the effort being to galvanise the party into contesting the elections as a united whole. Personal contact has been made with leaders who deserted the National Conference over the years in a bid to woo them back into the party fold.

The sources confirmed that NC patron Farooq Abdullah will not be contesting the Assembly elections. However, there is continuing reluctance within the party to go in for the polls with his son in the lead as he is not as charismatic, but over and above this the voters are particularly angry with him. Farooq Abdullah managed to steer clear of governance issues, and while not very popular either, is currently perceived by the NC as having more electoral influence than the chief minister.

National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said to the reporters in Kashmir that NC will release the third list of the party after August 15 and “all doubts will be cleared”. He confirmed that the list will include the name of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.