FORMER Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday withdrew his name as the potential joint opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, saying he has a “lot more active politics” ahead of him, and that he wanted to contribute in navigating the Union Territory through the current “critical juncture”. The 84-year-old Abdullah is the second political person after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar to have withdrawn their names as probable Opposition nominee for the July elections. Abdullah’s statement comes ahead of a scheduled meeting of opposition parties in Mumbai to discuss their joint candidate for the presidential elections. In a statement, Abdullah, however, thanked the Opposition leaders for proposing his name.
He said he was honoured that his name was proposed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to run for the office of the President of India. “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 the statement, adding he had discussions with senior colleagues of his party and family about this “unexpected” development. Abdullah’s name was proposed by Banerjee during a meeting earlier this week of 17 opposition parties, including the Congress, DMK, NCP and the Samajwadi Party.