Sushma Swaraj, one of the senior most leaders of the ruling BJP, has declared that she will not contest the 2019 national election.
Sushma Swaraj, the Union Minister for External Affairs, shared the decision with reporters in Madhya Pradesh, where elections will be held later this month. Reports say she cited health reasons.
“It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest the next elections,” said Ms Swaraj, 66, in Indore. She said she had informed her party.
Ms Swaraj is the Lok Sabha MP from Vidisha, around 56 km from state capital Bhopal. Recently, posters had been seen in the town questioning their parliamentarian’s prolonged absence. It was when the media questioned her about the posters that she reportedly announced her decision.
BJP sources said the party may bring her back into parliament through the Rajya Sabha. Ms Swaraj is known for her oratorical skills and sharp repartee in the house.
Sources in her family confirmed that Ms Swaraj needed to avoid infections and was taking precautions. “She has contested 11 elections, there is no political reason behind the decision,” said a source.
The veteran leader was forced to be away from her official engagements for months in 2016 because of a diabetes condition. She had a kidney transplant.
In November 2016, the Twitter-savvy minister posted the news herself. “I am in AIIMS because of kidney failure. Presently, I am on dialysis. I am undergoing tests for a Kidney transplant. Lord Krishna will bless,” she said before her surgery.>