Veteran politician of Jammu and Kashmir and incumbent president of the National Conference is likely to be the chief ministerial face of the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), popularly known as 'Gupkar Alliance'.
Two former chief ministers namely Omar Abdullah of the National Conference (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have already announced that they will not contest the assembly, leaving Dr. Farooq Abdullah as the only option before the conglomeration.
On Saturday, the octogenarian politician announced that he will contest the next assembly elections in the Union Territory of J&K.
"I am not escaping the responsibility to handle my party National Conference. I will continue to work to strengthen the party", Abdullah told media persons in Jammu on Saturday.
"I am here to fight elections. Whenever the next assembly elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, I will fight," Abdullah asserted. The NC and PDP are the two main constituents of the PAGD- comprised of five political parties.
Omar, Mehbooba already announced not to contest the elections
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have already announced that they will not contest the assembly polls till Union Government restore the pre-August 5, 2019 situation in the J&K. The restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 position is certainly impossible, so neither Omar Abdullah nor Mehbooba Mufti will join the electoral battle in the coming assembly elections.
On November 6, Mehbooba Mufti said that participating in the next assembly election was not her priority.
"Attaining power is not my priority. We are fighting to save our very existence because those at the helm of the affairs are trying to destroy our existence", she said.
Earlier in December 2021, Mehbooba Mufti announced that she will not contest elections till Article 370 is restored in Jammu and Kashmir. She added that statehood was not their demand.
Earlier on November 3, Abdullah had announced that Omar Abdullah would not contest assembly elections till J&K's statehood is restored. Farooq said Omar has already clarified that he will not contest elections till the statehood of J&K is restored.
In 2020 after his release from prolonged detention, Omar Abdullah had said he will not contest assembly elections till J&K remains a Union Territory. Omar argued that he had been a leader of the state, and it was the most empowered assembly in the country and that he cannot and will not be a member of what is now one of the most disempowered assemblies in the country.
NC, PDP formed PAGD to protect the 'special status' of J&K
With much publicity, the PAGD was formed in 2019 by six political parties with the pledge of perseverance and steadfastness toward the restoration of Article 370. This resolution was written in the Alliance's declaration where the political parties stated there would be "nothing about us without us," meaning they will stick together come what may.
"We want to assure people that all our political activities will be subservient to the sacred goal of reverting to the status of J&K as it existed before August 2019," read PAGD's declaration.
Within a couple of months after its formation, PAGD received a severe jolt when Sajad Lone of the Peoples' Conference, left the alliance. Lone charged both NC and PDP with fielding proxy candidates against the officially mandated candidates of the alliance during the DDC elections. He called these actions "a breach of trust".