Facing criticism over his handling of the unrest in Kashmir Valley, J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said he was “grateful” to Rahul Gandhi for backing him.

“I am very grateful for his backing, but I am not saying anything...Whatever, I have to say I will say to Rahul personally,” Mr. Omar said when asked about the Congress General Secretary’s words of support for him.

Mr. Gandhi, while addressing a press conference in Kolkata, said “The government has supported Omar Abdullah. National Conference is the party in power. He is a youngster. Kashmir is a difficult place. Mr. Omar is doing a tough job and he should be given time and support.” He was asked whether Mr. Omar had failed in dealing with the situation in Kashmir valley hit by unrest for the past three months.

Mr. Rahul’s remarks came amidst reports of a meeting between PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday night that raised speculation over possible new political realignment in Jammu and Kashmir.