Farooq Abdullah re-elected unanimously as National Conference president

Srinagar: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was on Sunday re-elected as the president of the oldest party in Jammu and Kashmir at a delegates' session in Srinagar which was held after a gap of 15 years.

Farooq Abdullah (80) was re-elected unanimously at the session held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium where thousands of party delegates participated in the day-long session.

He was first appointed as the party president in 1981 and had continued to hold the post, except from 2002 to 2009.

 Farooq Abdullah re-elected unanimously as National Conference president

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

In 2002, in a similar function held at the same venue, Farooq Abdullah had passed the baton to his son, Omar Abdullah, who was then a minister of state for external affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.

Omar Abdullah, however, resigned from the post in 2009 after taking over as the chief minister of the state. In January 2009, Abdullah was again elected party president and he continued to hold the post.

There were reports that owing to old age and health, Farooq Abdullah might step down once again make his son the party president.

Farooq Abdullah himself said at the function that he did not wish to continue.

"I thank you all for electing me president but I did not want to continue as the party president as I'm getting old. Doctors have so far not been able to invent an injection to reverse ageing, even as I'm myself a doctor," he said.

"I wanted Omar to take this responsibility so that you leave me, but he said no. He had told me that he will take this responsibility some day. But I want to assure you that he will have to take this responsibility one day," he said amid loud cheers from party activists.

On the occasion, Omar Abdullah congratulated his father and said becoming the party president in 2002 was a mistake he did not want to repeat.

He said Farooq Abdullah wanted them to take away the responsibility from his shoulders and he forced party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar to call delegates' session for new election.

"I requested him a lot and forced him saying that in 2002, a similar function was held here and that time party choose me as president. Today, my experience tells me that perhaps we made the decision in hurry and we should not have let you (go)," Omar Abdullah said.

He said the party needed Farooq Abdullah more because of the prevailing situation in the state.

"Whatever happened, has happened. But this time, I am not ready to repeat that mistake...and in today's time, when our state is facing so many difficulties and challenges and when the NC is being targeted, we cannot leave you," he said.

The former chief minister told Farooq Abdullah that the party was behind him and would benefit from his experience.

Updated Date: Oct 29, 2017 18:44:54 IST