Ending all speculation of a change of guard in the party, former Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Monday re-elected as president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) unopposed during a function at Srinagar.
The 85-year-old leader was unanimously elected the party's chief at the NC delegate session held near the mausoleum of party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Naseem Bagh Srinagar.
The day also marked the 117th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said only Dr. Farooq Abdullah's nomination was received till the last date of filing the nominations.
A total of 183 proposals from Kashmir, 396 from Jammu, and 25 proposals from Ladakh were received in support of Farooq Abdullah, Sagar said.
Farooq Abdullah had recently expressed a desire to step down from the post owing to his health. The party then set the presidential election process into motion and said the new president would be elected at the party's delegate session. It said the party's internal elections had already been concluded.
Notification for the election of the party president was issued on November 19 and nominations were invited from party leaders who are interested to contest the election of the party president which will be held on December 5.
There was a general feeling that his son Omar Abdullah will take the reins of the party.
Sources said that Omar refused to take responsibility at this crucial juncture when Assembly elections are likely to be held next year.
Farooq Abdullah had earlier announced not to contest the party president's election
When notification for the election of the president of NC was issued Dr. Farooq Abdullah had announced that he will not be contesting for the post of president any longer.
It was believed that 85-year-old Abdullah will assume the role of party patron and his son Omar Abdullah, currently, the party's vice-president, is likely to succeed him as the new chief.
"Dr. Farooq Abdullah Sahib has informed his colleagues of his decision to step down as president of JKNC. In spite of the best efforts of senior colleagues in the party, Dr. Sahib was adamant that he wouldn't review his decision", the NC tweeted from its official Twitter handle on November 18.
"In light of this sudden announcement which has caught everyone by surprise the General Secretary as per the party constitution, has been tasked with conducting the election for party president which will be completed on Dec 5. Until then Dr. Sahib continues as President of JKNC", the party stated.
Farooq was earlier elected as NC president on October 28, 2017
The National Conference working committee had re-elected Farooq Abdullah as the party president on October 28, 2017.
Farooq Abdullah was elected president of the party after the National Conference suffered defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.