External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, one of the topmost BJP leaders, has declared that she will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The minister made the announcement during a chat with reporters in Madhya Pradesh's Indore. She cited health grounds as the reason behind her decision to give the upcoming general elections a miss. She is a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh's Vidisha.
"It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest the next elections," the 66-year-old minister told reporters in Indore, adding that she has also conveyed her decision to the party.
Recently, posters were seen in Vidisha questioning the minister for his absence from the constituency. Sushma announced her decision when the reporters asked her about the posters.
The External Affairs Minister has been suffering from diabetes for quite a long time. In 2016, Swaraj had suffered a kidney failure and underwent the transplant at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Known for her eloquence and powerful speeches, Sushma Swaraj was first elected to the Haryana Legislative Assembly in 1977 and became the Labour and Employment minister in the Devi Lal-led government. She was again elected to the Haryana Legislative Assembly in 1987 and became the Education, Food and Civil Supplies minister.
Swaraj was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 from South Delhi constituency. She had defeated Congress party’s Kapil Sibal. She was also made the Information and Broadcasting minister in 1996 under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, the government collapsed in just 13 days.
Sushma Swaraj was again elected to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 from South Delhi. She was made the Cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In October 1998, she was sent to Delhi by the BJP top leadership to replace Sahib Singh Verma as the chief minister. However, Swaraj could not prevent the party from a humiliating defeat at the hands of Congress party under the leadership of Sheila Dikshit. She was elected from Hauz Khas but later resigned from it and retained her Lok Sabha seat.
In 1999, Swaraj was given the responsibility to take on Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Congress bastion Bellary in Karnataka. She had lost the election but garnered approximately 45 per cent of total votes polled. She was again made the Information and Broadcasting minister in 2000. She took charge of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry in 2003.