Updated: December 4, 2018 11:43:04 pm
After External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti has become the second Union Minister to declare that she would not be contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Addressing the media in Bhopal, the MP from Jhansi said she would concentrate on issues such as the building of Ram Temple in Ayodhya and the cleanliness of river Ganga.
“I will not do anything for the next one-and-a-half years except (working) for the Ganga and Lord Ram,” she said, adding that she had conveyed her decision to the BJP leadership, PTI reported. The Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister, however, clarified that she won’t be quitting politics.
“I am not taking ‘sanyas’ (from politics). ‘Sanyas’ is a different thing. I will do politics till my end. Nobody can force me to leave politics. I will do it while being in the BJP only,” Bharti said.
The BJP leader, who was a prominent face in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1990s, said she would set out on a 2,500-km yatra along the Ganga river on foot on Makar Sankranti in January next year for one-and-a-half years.
“I believe that one has to go to the banks of the Ganga river by leaving power and I am doing so for next one-and-a-half years. But I will be campaigning and would do politics till my last and that too with energy,” she said.
Bharti had made a similar claim previously too. In February, the minister had said she would opt out of the electoral arena due to advancing age and health issues.
Bharti’s announcement comes a fortnight after Swaraj said she will not contest the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 owing to health reasons. “It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest the next (Lok Sabha) elections due to health reasons,” Swaraj had said.
“After being elected from Vidisha as Lok Sabha MP, I was Leader of Opposition. Later, I was given the responsibility of the External Affairs Ministry. Despite holding these prime posts, I used to visit all assembly segments in my constituency every month for nearly eight years. Doctors have advised me that I should avoid exposure to dust. Because of this, I am unable to take part even in election rallies,” she added.
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