High-profile former Congress MP Priya Dutt on Monday announced she would not contest the 2019 elections and will spend more time with her family. The announcement concluded speculations over her future political move, months after she was 'relieved' as an AICC secretary. The former Congress MP in statement said she had shared her decision to take a break from active politics with Congress president Rahul Gandhi a couple of months ago.
She was committed to work for the party and its candidate, the Congress leader said, adding she however, “would not support anyone against her conscience.”
Announcing her decision, she said, "I will not be contesting the 2019 General Election. Politics needs a particular mind-set that I do not have. However, I have great respect for those who do.”
Dutt was defeated by BJP's Poonam Mahajan from the Mumbai North Central seat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Dutt, daughter of actor-turned-politician late Sunil Dutt, stated that she had decided in 2005, when she entered politics, that she would "step out for a while" after contesting three terms.
In 2005, following the death of her father, Dutt had contested from his Mumbai North West seat and defeated Shiv Sena veteran Madhukar Sarpotdar.
In 2009, she emerged victorious from the Mumbai North Central seat.
In her statement, Dutt has hailed and thanked her "mentor" UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. She also praised Rahul Gandhi for being a "good human being and a compassionate leader" the country needs.
Dutt was relieved as AICC (All India Congress Committee) secretary in September-October last year, raising speculations over factionalism in the Mumbai Congress unit.
Dutt noted that being a politician was a 24/7 job and that one has life, family and privacy while serving the nation.
"So, it is my humble request to those who hate all politicians because of the misdeeds of a few to not judge all by the same yardstick. I have served honestly and selflessly and so have many others," she stated.
Dutt said the past years had been "enlightening" for her but added that she struggled to keep a balance between her personal and political life. Dutt said she did her best in the electoral politics which took a toll on many aspects of her life.
"My boys are now 13 and 11 years old. I had missed so many special moments in their lives and want to be there for them more than ever before...My husband has steadily supported me all these years and has sacrificed much of his life to adjust to mine. It was time for me to be together with and for them," she said.
(With PTI inputs)