SRINAGAR: After Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah has declined to be the joint Opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.
Dr Abdullah stated on Saturday that J&K was at a "critical juncture" and that he wanted to help navigate his home territory through these "uncertain times."
At a meeting with the leaders of 17 Opposition parties in New Delhi on June 15, Trinamul president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed the names of Dr Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C. Rajagopalachari, as possible consensus Opposition candidate to contest the presidential elections.
In a signed statement issued here, Dr Abdullah, 84, said that he was honoured to have had his name proposed as a joint Opposition candidate for the office of President of India by Banerjee. He said that after his name was proposed by her, he has received a number of calls from the Opposition leaders offering their support for his candidature.
Dr Abdullah said, "I’ve taken a few days to discuss this unexpected development with my family and senior colleagues. I’m deeply touched by the support that I’ve received and honoured to have been considered for the highest office in the country."
Declining the offer, Dr Abdullah said that he believed that J&K is passing through a critical juncture and his efforts are required to help navigate these uncertain times. "I’ve a lot more active politics ahead of me and I look forward to making a positive contribution in the service of J&K and the country. Therefore, I would like to respectfully withdraw my name from consideration and I look forward to supporting the joint Opposition consensus candidate," he said.
Dr Abdullah thanked the Trinamul Congress chief for proposing his name. He said, "I’m very grateful to Mamata Didi for proposing my name. I’m also grateful to all the senior leaders who offered me their support."