National Conference (NC) supremo Farooq Abdullah on Saturday withdrew his name for consideration as the joint candidate of the opposition for Presidential elections slated to be held on July 18. In a statement, Abdullah thanked opposition leaders for proposing his name as their candidate but said he would continue to navigate Jammu and Kashmir, which is going “through a critical juncture”.
“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, as reported by news agency PTI.
“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, adding that he believes he has a “lot more active politics ahead of me and looks forward to making a positive contribution in the service of Jammu and Kashmir and the country”.
During the opposition’s key meeting this week, Abdullah’s name for the opposition’s joint candidate for Presidential polls by Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had also proposed the name of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar.
While Gandhi, the 77-year-old grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has said “it is too premature to comment” on the matter, Pawar has also opted himself out of the race. According to opposition leaders, Pawar refused to be the opposition’s candidate citing health issues.
“I sincerely appreciate the leaders of Opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India at the meeting held in Delhi. However, I would like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Presidential elections in India will take place on July 18 and the counting of votes, if needed, will take place on July 21.