Jammu: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said he had not kissed his wife since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic at a book-release function here on Sunday and the audience burst into laughter.Also Read - Capital Expenditure, Reduction in GST: 10 Things India’s Middle Class Expects From Budget 2022

The octogenarian leader, who was candid and witty in his nearly-35-minute speech, said one is even afraid of a handshake or a hug in the current situation. Also Read - Full Lockdown in Kerala Today: Malls, Theatres To Remain Shut | Check Guidelines Here

“I can’t even kiss my wife. Who knows (what will happen). There is no question of a hug, though the heart wants it. I am sincere in my words,” he said, leaving the audience in splits. Also Read - GATE 2022: IIT Kharagpur Hints At Postponing Exam, Issues Notification Amid Rising Demand From Students

A short video clip of his remarks has gone viral on social media since yesterday.

Abdullah, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said that when his daughter sees photos of him not wearing a mask, she takes him to task on his return home.

He said COVID-19 vaccines are now available and only time will tell about their efficacy, “but I am praying for their success so that the situation gets normal”.

On Sunday, India had rolled out the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19, which has so far infected 1,05,57,985 people in the country and killed 1,52,274 of them.

Abdullah’s remarks that he is 25 per cent Gujjar also triggered a bout of laughter among the audience, mostly belonging to the nomadic community. Abdullah’s mother was from a Gujjar tribe.

The well-attended function was organised by Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust to release the biography of its patron-in-chief Masud Ahmad Choudhary, a retired Additional Director General of Police and ex-vice chancellor of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (Rajouri).

The book explores the life of Chaudhary, who is widely known as “Sir Syed” of Gujjar Community for his untiring efforts in areas of social and educational awakening, his contributions in the police department, in service of the Gujjar community and as an institution builder.

(With inputs from PTI)