Sushma Swaraj Says Won't Contest Elections Due To Health Reasons
Political

Sushma Swaraj Says Won’t Contest Elections Due To Health Reasons

Swaraj, 66, is the Union Minister for External Affairs and one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s foremost leaders.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Veteran leader known for Twitter diplomacy

2. She’s the MP from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh

3. She underwent a kidney transplant in 2016

Sushma Swaraj doesn’t want to contest next year’s general elections due to her health. She says she’s made up her mind, but also that her party, the BJP, will take a call.

Swaraj, 66, is the Union Minister for External Affairs and the Lok Sabha MP from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. In 2014, she won the election in her constituency by a whopping margin: More than 4 lakh votes.

A lawyer by profession, and an excellent orator and polyglot, Swaraj is one of the BJP’s foremost leaders. As foreign minister, she’s earned a reputation for being a tech-savvy, accessible leader who often speaks directly to citizens on Twitter.

From visas for stranded Indians to evacuating seafarers from trouble spots, Swaraj has never been more than a tweet away as she galvanises a notoriously apathetic bureaucracy to come to the aid of Indians.

At the same time, Swaraj has faced criticism for her handling of the Doklam standoff with China, and when she announced this year that 39 Indian nationals missing in Iraq had been killed by the terrorist group Islamic State.

She underwent a kidney transplant in 2016.

Swaraj announced her decision not to contest in 2019 at a press conference in Indore on Tuesday.

Her political career spans several decades; she was only 25 when she became a Haryana state minister in 1977. She won the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2004, and served as the leader of the Opposition during during UPA-II.

Foreign Policy magazine named her as one of its “global thinkers” in 2016, in a list that included Angela Merkel, Melinda Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. The journal cited her “novel brand of Twitter diplomacy.” The Washington Post took note of her use of social media, too. It called her India’s “crusading Supermom of State”.