The last Lok Sabha polls that saw National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah losing the election for the first time in his political career might be remembered as his last foray into the fray with his son and chief minister Omar Abdullah announcing his father’s decision of not contesting the upcoming assembly polls later this year.
Party sources, however, say Farooq’s health might not allow him to contest an election in future as well.
The news is a setback for the party, which is trying hard to come out of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections drubbing.
According to party sources, Farooq has recently been discharged from the All India Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after over a week of specialised treatment. Confirming that Farooq’s health is the only reason for the decision, Omar told HT: “It’s only his health that is not allowing him to contest. He wasn’t even keen on contesting the Lok Sabha elections and wasn’t able to campaign beyond a few programmes in his constituency,” said Omar, adding it was only the pressure from the party that his father agreed to contest.
In the LS polls, however, the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra not only defeated Abdullah, but secured more votes than him from most of the assembly segments of the Srinagar LS seat.
The NC veteran has been three-time chief minister between 1982 and 2002; his reluctance to be the CM after the 2009 elections could be seen in the context of his somewhat rocky past with the Congress.
As a man, Farooq inspires either intense loyalty or utter contempt, Farooq has more recently been seen the bridge between the people and the NC leadership led by his son.