Throwing a surprise to all, Minister of External Affairs and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj declared publically at Indore that she will not contest the2019 Lok Sabha elections on health ground.
Talking to press reporters she said that though the authority to select candidates rests with the party, she has made up her mind to stay away from next Lok Sabha elections. Sushma, 66, said that she had undergone kidney transplant operation in December 2016 and the doctors have advised her to take rest and avoid dust.
Sushma represents the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh and serving her fourth term as Member of the Parliament. She was the Leader of Opposition and presently serving as Minister of External Affairs. “I used to visit every assembly constituency during these years. Bu now the doctors have advised me to avoid dust exposure. Because of this I am not taking part in the election campaigning”, she said.
The opponents of BJP have exhibited “MP has Gove Missing” posters commenting on her absence from the election campaigning. Replying to that she said if anybody has put p such posters on display in a most insensitive manner and tried to make it an issue, there is nothing I can say about this, she added.
She further explained that due to health reasons she could not go for campaigning in the open and informed the party leadership about this.
However, the announcement from Sushma Swaraj in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh has come as a surprise to many in the BJP and outside also. Her declaration has given rise to speculations about her future in the BJP hierarchy in view of her formidable political seniority.
Sushma Swaraj is the only member of the government from the 13-day Vajpayee government to the present one headed by Narendra Modi. She bowed to the party decision and fought a fierce battle against Sonia Gandhi from Bellary and Sheila Dixit in Delhi. Her announcement of political retirement has therefore, surprised many within the BJP and outside of it.
Swaraj tweeted later that she was no retiring from politics. Sushma Swaraj being a powerful orator has rare distinctions. She joined the Haryana cabinet in 1977 post emergency elections when she was 25. She became the first woman chief minister of Delhi and also the first woman Extermal Affairs Minister of India.
She was member of the Raya Sabha for three terms. Starting her career as an active member of the ABVP, Sushma later joined the BJP. She was made the I & B Minister in the 13-day-old Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996 and was again given the cabinet rank in 1998 when the BJP got re-elected to power.
She fought a fierce political battle against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in 1999 Lok Sabha elections from Bellary in Karnataka. She also served as Leader of Opposition from 2009 to 2014.
Senior and Controversial Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has expressed shock over the decision of Sushma Swaraj. She thanked him for his kind words.