Senior Congress leader Priya Dutt has written to party president Rahul Gandhi, that she will not be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She had contested and won the Mumbai northwest seat after her father Sunil Dutt’s death. But now, among the top contenders for the seat from Mumbai are former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, sitting MLA Arif Naseem Khan, former MLA Baba Siddique, former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, actors Raj Babbar, and Nagma.
Dutt expressed that while she does not wish to contest for personal reasons, she will campaign for the candidates. Dutt was reportedly unhappy over the factionalism in the party and had complained about the treatment meted out to her during the 2014 LS elections.
“There has been a lot of speculation about me contesting the LS elections, especially the party’s decision of relieving me from the post of secretary. I have made it clear to Gandhi that it was time for me to take a break. Even when I entered politics in 2005, it was decided that I would contest three terms and step out for a while. There is more to life than politics and I wanted the freedom to explore other aspects of life. I struggled to keep a balance between personal and political life. While I did my best and managed, it took a toll on many aspects of my life,” she said, in a press statement issued on Monday.
“She has expressed her inability, but the final decision has to be taken by the party leadership. She may also be convinced by the leadership to change her mind,” said Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, reports HT.
The younger daughter of late actor and politician Sunil Dutt was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2005 on a Congress ticket. She won again from the same constituency in 2009. But in 2014 she lost to BJP’s Poonam Mahajan when the Congress-NCP combine lost all seats in Mumbai and the Congress came up with its worst-ever tally of 44 seats in Lok Sabha polls.
Priya Dutt’s explanation for not contesting the Lok Sabha elections:
“When I agreed to enter electoral politics in 2005, I was clear that I would contest three terms and step out for a while. There is more to life than politics and I also wanted the freedom to experience and explore other aspects of my life too,” explained Dutt in her statement.
“I never envisioned myself only being a politician or owning the permanent right to be the only INC contestant from the North Central Mumbai Parliamentary constituency. This constituency never belonged to my father, to me, or for that matter to any one person; it belongs to the people who make it. We come in and are chosen by the people as caretakers and must give opportunity for fresh and new ideas,” she wrote.
She further clarifies that although the past years have been “exciting and enlightening” she struggled to keep a balance between her personal and political life. “However, I struggled to keep a balance between my personal and political life. While I did my best, and managed, it took a toll on many aspects of my life. The juggling is not easy in this profession. 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… every parent will understand why… 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,” reasoned Dutt.