Farooq Abdullah declines offer to be Opposition's presidential candidate
Member Parliament and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Saturday declined the opportunity to be the Opposition's presidential candidate, saying he would rather contribute to Jammu and Kashmir politically. The Lok Sabha MP stated in a statement that he was honored that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee nominated him as a prospective united Opposition candidate, but he withdrew his name from consideration.
Why does this story matter?
- With Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under the President's rule as well as three other states—Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu—controlled by the opposition parties, the presidential elections would be a tough contest for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA candidate.
- The opposition plans to give a tough fight by putting up joint candidates for the presidential election but so far two candidates declined the offer.
What exactly did Abdullah say in the statement?
"I believe that Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a critical juncture and my efforts are required to help navigate these uncertain times. I have a lot more active politics ahead of me," he said in a statement. "Therefore I would like to respectfully withdraw my name from consideration and I look forward to supporting the joint opposition consensus candidate," he added.
You can read the full statement here
Dr Farooq Abdullah's Statement regarding President election. pic.twitter.com/0rrwnBuqeI— JKNC (@JKNC_) June 18, 2022
Earlier NCP Chief Sharad Pawar too declined the offer
The withdrawal of candidature by the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister comes only days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chairman Sharad Pawar declined the offer to run for the country's top post. Pawar's name was suggested by representatives of 17 Opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and Shiv Sena, at a conference in New Delhi.
What did Pawar wrote on Twitter after declining the proposal?
"I sincerely appreciate the leaders of Opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate for the election of the President of India. However, I would like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal," Pawar tweeted.
Abdullah, Gopalkrishna Gandhi's names floated in meeting of Opposition parties
Mamata Banerjee floated the names of the NC president and MP Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi after the veteran NCP leader declined the offer. A second meeting of the opposition parties will be convened by Pawar next week to build consensus on fielding a joint candidate against the BJP-led NDA, according to PTI sources.
Who attended the meeting, who didn't?
The Congress, Shiv Sena, SP, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, NCP, Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Lok Dal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, among others, attended the meeting. However, four major regional parties, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Shiromani Akali Dal gave it a miss.
President is elected by an electoral college
The President of India is chosen by an electoral college comprising elected members of both Houses of Parliament, representatives of state legislatures, and the union territories of Delhi and Puducherry. According to the current estimates, the electoral college consists of 776 Members of Parliament (543 Lok Sabha MPs and 233 Rajya Sabha MPs) and 4,809 members of the state legislative assemblies.