External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is one of the seniormost leaders of the BJP, has announced that she will not contest the 2019 national election. She made the statement on Tuesday to reporters in Madhya Pradesh which is gearing up for elections later this month. She reportedly quoted health reasons for her decision.

“It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest the next elections,” said Swaraj, 66, in Indore, NDTV reported. The cabinet minister, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Vidisha, around 56 km from state capital Bhopal, said she had informed her party.

Famous for her oratorical skills, Swaraj is one of the most impactful leaders in BJP’s top tier and for the past two-three years, she is facing health issues. In November 2016, her kidney failed and she underwent tests for transplant. Several people wrote to her, offering to become her donor after she first spoke up about her kidney condition in a tweet.

“It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest the next elections” – Sushma Swaraj

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Then in December of the same year, she went through the kidney transplant surgery. A woman who is unrelated to Swaraj donated her kidney to the external affairs minister.

Recently, Vidisha saw a display of posters questioning their parliamentarian’s prolonged absence. But when the media questioned Swaraj about the posters, she reportedly announced her decision to not contest in the election. Sources from BJP said that the party might bring her back into parliament through the Rajya Sabha. In the past, she has given some powerful speeches at the UN General Assembly where she spoke on Indo-Pak relations.

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