Not stepping down as National Conference president: Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar, July 21 (IANS) Farooq Abdullah Wednesday said he had no plans of stepping down as president of the National Conference (NC), putting to rest speculations that he may pave the way for a younger leader.

‘I have no intention of stepping down from the NC president’s post. Yes, I am getting old and the party would find a new president when the times come for that. As of now, I shall not be stepping down from the post,’ Abdullah said in an interview here to radio Kashmir.

A meeting of senior National Conference leaders was chaired by Abdullah, who is also Union minister for renewable energy, here that was also attended by his cousin and party general secretary Sheikh Nazir.

The meeting, according to party sources, was a prelude to Thursday’s working committee meet of the National Conference, which is likely to deliberate on activating the grassroots level cadre of the party to push forward a political initiative in light of the present cycle of violence in the Kashmir Valley.

The valley has been virtually paralysed due to violent protests against civilians being killed in firing by security forces. Fourteen people, including a 25-year old woman, have been killed in firing by security personnel at protesting mobs across the Kashmir Valley since June 11.

The army was called in to help maintain law and order as the violence spiralled.