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Farooq Abdullah re-elected to head NC

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Azad, Mufti, Tarigami congratulate Abdullah on his re-election

Srinagar: Dr. Farooq Abdullah was on Monday re-elected unopposed to head National Conference (NC) as its president.

Pertinently, the octogenarian leader had two weeks back announced that he would not run for another term, but today he had an explanation for it, when he said though he wanted to step aside and let the younger leadership run the party, he was persuaded to continue as “we are passing through a very difficult phase”.

Abdullah, who has served as NC president for nearly three decades after being elected first in 1981, was again elected the party’s chief at the NC’s delegate session held here after party leaders offered prayers at the mausoleum of NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Naseem Bagh in Hazratbal on his 117th birth anniversary.

The last NC presidential elections were held five years ago.

NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said only Abdullah’s nomination was received till the last date of filing papers. A total of 183 proposals from Kashmir, 396 from Jammu and 25 from Ladakh were received in support of Farooq Abdullah, the party said.

The 85-years-old sitting Member Parliament from Srinagar was first elected NC president in 1981 when his father Sheikh Abdullah was the chief minister. Before the 2002 Assembly polls, Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar was elected the NC president as the senior leader wanted the younger generation to take up the mantle.

Omar stepped down in 2014 and his father was once again elected the president. He has remained the party president since.

During a party meeting recently, Abdullah had expressed a desire to step down from the post owing to his health. The party then set the presidential election process into motion and said the new president would be elected at the party’s delegate session.

It said the party’s internal elections had already been concluded.

However, the party persuaded Abdullah to lead it for another term.

Congratulating Farooq Abdullah on his re-election, Omar said his father’s earlier decision not to continue as party president had not only surprised them but caused them a lot of tension.

“He announced it without any discussions. We were heartbroken, we lost our mental balance, because he was leaving us in such a situation where we have to take the fight forward and take the state out from the morass…when we have to fight the injustice done to us on August 05, 2019 and prepare the party for the forthcoming tests,” Omar said.

“After that day, I was continuously persuading my father,” he said. “If you (Farooq) do not want to remain the party president, then the NC will not have any president. Do you want the NC to function without a president?”

Omar said the party has to learn a lot from the experience of its president.

He said other leaders in the party will have more responsibility and assured his father that they will take his message to every corner of J&K.

Addressing the party delegates, Farooq Abdullah thanked them but said he did not want to continue as the party president.

“I wanted the younger leadership to run the party now because no one knows when the time to leave this world will come. So, I thought about this for many days. But, the party thought it would not be right for me to leave when we are passing through a very difficult phase.

“So, I took their advice and accepted this. But, I told them that you should make preparations for the younger leadership to take over. We have to bring the youth forward. The young men and women are the power of this party and it is imperative to make them stronger,” he said.

Meanwhile, several political leaders have congratulated Dr Farooq Abdullah on being re-elected as president of JKNC.

Democratic Azad Party Chairman and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday congratulated and prayed for the good health of 85-year-old Abdullah and his long spell in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir.

“I congratulate Abdullah for being re-elected as NC president. Since he has again been elected as party president, I am sure Jammu and Kashmir politics will thrive and will expand the democratic space,” Azad said in a statement here.

While congratulating Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that his leadership is paramount in the struggle forrights and dignity of the people of J&K.

CPI(M) leader and former MLA Kulgam, M Y Tarigami also congratulated Dr Abdullah.

“Best wishes go out to Dr. Farooq Abdullah on his re-election as @JKNC_ president. Hope he brings the democratic and secular forces  together in defence of the rights of the people,” Tarigami tweeted.

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