National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Saturday withdrew his name for consideration as the joint Opposition candidate for the presidential elections, saying he would like to contribute to navigating Jammu and Kashmir which is “passing through a critical juncture".
Thanking the Opposition leaders for proposing his name as their candidate for the polls next month, Abdullah, in a statement released by his party, said he was honoured that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee put forward his name as a possible joint opposition candidate.
“Subsequent to Mamata didi proposing my name, I have received a number of calls from opposition leaders offering their support for my candidature," Abdullah said in a statement. He said he had discussions with senior colleagues of his party and family about this “unexpected" development.
“I am deeply touched by the support that I’ve received and honoured to have been considered for the highest office in the country. I believe that Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a critical juncture and my efforts are required to help navigate these uncertain times," he said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said he believed he has a “lot more active politics ahead of me and look forward to making a positive contribution in the service of Jammu and Kashmir and the country".
He added, “Therefore, I would like to respectfully withdraw my name from consideration and I look forward to supporting the joint Opposition consensus candidate," the NC statement said.
The decision comes barely a day after Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said elections to the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly might be held by the end of this year.
Farooq Abdullah’s name was floated after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar declined to be the joint opposition candidate for the Presidential elections. Apart from him, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s name was also deliberated upon for the July polls.
According to a senior NCP minister, 81-year-old Pawar is a “people’s man” and won’t “restrict himself to the Rashtrapati Bhavan”. “…I don’t think he is keen on it (contesting polls). Saheb (Pawar) is a people’s man who loves meeting people. He will not restrict himself to the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” PTI quoted the leader as saying.
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