Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid was the lone legislator from Jammu and Kashmir who abstained from voting in the presidential poll on Monday. Defending his decision to abstain from voting, Rashid said while the BJP could never have been his choice, the united opposition had lost the right to seek his vote.
“Though the top Congress leadership approached me more than once for voting in favour of the joint opposition candidate, it was made clear to them that the Congress has lost the right to seek my vote in light of the broken promises made by President Pranab Mukherjee when he was the UPA’s presidential nominee,” Rashid said here. He said that he had submitted a memorandum to Mukherjee seeking clemency for Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged inside New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013.
Mukherjee had promised to have a very humanitarian view of the clemency petition. In the presence of both (former chief minister) Omar Abdullah and (former Pradesh Congress Committee chief) Saif-ud-din Soz, Mukherjee had assured that Guru would not be hanged, Rashid claimed.
But, after becoming the president, he forgot the promise and as such there was no reason to vote for anyone seeking the constitutional post, the MLA from north Kashmir’s Langate constituency said.