The TV anchor who’s caught Omar Abdullah’s eye

Nora Chopra, the diarist/ gossip columnist of M.J. Akbar‘s weekly newspaper, The Sunday Guardian, gives a delicious little rumour floating around in Delhi some more oxygen.

“If the Delhi grapevine is to be believed, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and his wife Payal are getting divorced by mutual consent.

“The reason behind the break-up is apparently a TV anchor from the State, who the 41-year-old CM wants to marry. The anchor is a divorcee and has been in two live-in relationships since her divorce. But the marriage is being opposed by his father Dr Farooq Abdullah and his party, the National Conference, as the lady is not a Muslim. The NC wants Abdullah to marry a Kashmiri Muslim girl….

“Omar had married Payal, the daughter of Major General Ram Nath (retired), a Sikh, in 1994, four years before he entered politics. He has not visited his Akbar road residence in New Delhi, where Payal lives with their two sons, for the last six months. When asked by this columnist, a close Omar Abdullah aide said on the condition of anonymity, ‘All I can say is that they are separated.’

“Mixed marriages are common in the Abdullah family. Farooq Abdullah had married a British lady, Omar Abdullah’s sister Sarah is married to Sachin Pilot. But conservative Kashmiri politics has not allowe these women to make Srinagar their home.”

Update 1 (15 September): The Delhi Times supplement of The Times of India too has jumped into the picture, with a story that claims that the separation of Abdullah and his wife of 17 years, Payal, “can now be safely assumed to be official status”.

“…people Delhi Times spoke to confirmed the fact that the split had been coming for a while, most of them declined to comment on the speculation over the reason behind the split. They did, however, affirm that talk of Omar’s remarriage is on.

“In that context, there are two names doing the rounds – one, a friend of Omar, supposedly his choice (a highprofile mediaperson), and two, a choice preferred by his dad and his party, the sister of politician Nasir Aslam Wani. Wani, believed to be a confidante of the CM, is currently J&K’s minister of state for Home.”

Update 2 (15 September): Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah has responded to the speculation on his Twitter account, posting four messages within minutes of each other, and promising a “separate statement” shortly:

# “Have seen with dismay and anguish the growing tide of speculation in the media about my private life and the status of my marriage

#”While it’s true my wife and i have separated, speculation about the motives and my future actions are unfounded, untrue.

# “stories abt my remarriage are completely false, concocted. It’s a pity, while repeating these lies, no effort was made to ask me the truth

# “I appeal to the media to please allow me and my family privacy. Am sure you will appreciate that i have not let this affect my work

Photograph: Omar Abdullah with wife Payal and their children in happier times (courtesy The Telegraph)

Also read: NDTV reporter puts an ‘indecent proposal’ in print

Wall Street Journal denies minister sent reporter SMS

Everybody loves a good affair between celebrities

In love? Married? A threat to national security?

‘Don’t you have anything more serious to write about?


  1. S.R.Rama Subbaiah

    As we know, Abdullah family has been a mixed one for generations and even Sheik Abdulla was considered a brother for Nehru’s daughter.

  2. Law of Omerta

    we should not blame this politician for this.

    Some of these TV anchors are quite good looking….

  3. Not Me

    “gives a delicious little rumour floating around in Delhi some more oxygen” Isn’t that exactly what you are doing? I’m disappointed.

  4. sameer

    Itz his life….let him decide yaar…..enjoy man

  5. ahmad

    i think it is better for him to marry another women if he loves some 1 really but make sure she become at least Muslim.if she is not yet..about his wife Payal i think not to break relation as have 2 sons from her. even if there are differences. be away but Not Out of relation. i have bad experience, choice is urs,,,,,

  6. uttara

    not just sara, another daughter hinna, is also married to a non-muslim – a foreigner. she is hinna collins

  7. megha

    sheikh abdullah’swife—farooq’s mother—mother too was of mixed parentage – her father was an american or european who owned the nedou hotel.

  8. raman

    kashmir people never accepted this marraige wonder if people of kashmir will truley accept these 2 kids now or farookh want his ”true'” pure succesor by arranging a kashmiri muslim for his son…what matter them is their legacy and power which is an all time low with people finding mehboba mufti as their fav leader in kashmir

  9. sanjay

    Kashmiri believe in universal brotherhood.There is no question of community.

  10. nishat

    shocked vd d news of dre sepration,,,,,very upset:((((((((((( try to patchup,,,,its a request

  11. Mehboob H bulbul

    I don’t think, Kashmiris would differentiate between mix marriage or true blue ( native) blood Leader, as long as leader has compassion and love for the land and people. I think it is time, we let others to sort out our affairs and problems, things we couldn’t work out ourselves so far so long. I think, it is time for wholesale change in politics, not only in the J & K State but in Centre as well. Young educated people, are only your hope, give them a chance, as they are future leaders for any Nation. They are competitive energetic and most of all believe in fair go.
    That is my opinion.

    1. aces

      as long as leader has compassion and love for the land and people? they just love their chair which is maintained as long they are faithful to india.

  12. […] Source:-The TV anchor who’s caught Omar Abdullah’s eye                  The Hot Seat with Omar Abdullah […]

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