Former Congress MP Priya Dutt. (PTI/File)
Former Congress MP Priya Dutt on Monday announced that she will not contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Dutt has represented Mumbai North-Central constituency twice and was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Poonam Mahajan in 2014. In September 2018, she was relieved by the Congress leadership of her responsibilities as the secretary of All India Congress Committee. She was informed about the same through an official letter sent by veteran Congress leader Ashok Gehlot.
Here’s the full statement:
I will not be contesting the 2019 General Election.
There have been a lot of speculations recently regarding my contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election, especially after the recent letter from AICC relieving me of my duties as Secretary. Today I would like to make things clear and express what I feel and why. A couple of months ago, I shared with Hon’ble Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi that it was time for me to take a break from active politics. 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. 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. Having been in electoral politics for 9 years (2005-2014) and having fought three general elections, it was time.
Also, working within the system all these years, it had become clear to me that I could either work within it or work outside it. In fact what sustained me for so long is the love of the people in my constituency, and other party colleagues and supporters. As a Member of Parliament, I did my best to serve my constituents and sincerely represent their interests in the Parliament. I do not believe that contesting an election is the only way to serve the people. I have seen the selfless service of many people who effectively make a difference in society, and I want to do likewise. Politics needs a particular mind-set that I do not have.
However, I have great respect for those who do. They sacrifice their lives, their families, and their privacy to serve the nation. Being a politician is a 24/7 job that involves constantly being on trial; 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. There will be many more if you vote for the right candidate. These past years have been exciting and enlightening for me. Everyday, I learned something new. 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. These are crucial years for my boys. Life is changing for them, as it is for me, and it is important for them to have both their parents around. 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. Over the years, I have been working for the people through the Nargis Dutt Foundation, which I believe is the true legacy of my parents.
I am carrying forth that legacy to the best of my ability. We will continue to reach every corner of India to make a difference in providing health care and education and will work with the governments to do so. There are several people who have touched my life over the years that I must thank. I remain forever grateful to all my supporters and my dear Congress activists, without whose support and love I would never have gotten this far. I have always represented their views and desires within my party to the best of my ability. I will always be there to support and serve them and the nation.
I thank all my colleagues from all parties in Parliament for their support and for making me always feel welcome. To all my friends in Parliament, I cannot name each one but they know who they are. Their friendship will stay with me for life. I also thank my team and my colleagues in my constituency who have stood by me through the toughest of times. They have been my hands, eyes, and ears in the constituency.
My core team and everyone in my office who remained with me even during my lowest times and supported me on all my decisions, I thank them. I specially thank the media for standing by me and highlighting what I stood for. I would not have been able to work the way I did without you all. Thank you. To all those in the party that I have had disagreements with, I hope they understand it was never personal. I have only represented what was best for the party, the workers, and my constituents.
To all my constituents, please vote discerningly. While I am committed to working for the party and its candidate, I want to assure you that I will not support anyone my conscience does not permit me to. I have always been sincere with the people of my constituency, even at times when the truth has hurt me. I maintain that has worked for the people and for me. Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude towards my mentor and inspiration, Hon’ble Smt. Sonia Gandhi.
When I entered active politics, I was hesitant and very scared to be part of this profession that I knew nothing about, except what I saw and did not like. Mrs. Gandhi inspired me with her wisdom and resilience. Every time I felt discouraged, I saw her strength and courage, her compassion and her patience to listen to everyone who came to her. I drew my strength from Ma’am. The Congress Party is a party of great minds and young blood. Our leader, Shri Rahul Gandhi, is extremely committed and sincere.
Our country needs a good human being and a compassionate leader, which I truly believe he is.
I WILL NOT BE CONTESTING THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTION.
I am grateful for everything in my life and pray I can bring hope and smiles to many more lives. I humbly ask for your blessings for the future.
With best wishes,