‘Time to take break’: Former Congress MP Priya Dutt opts out of Lok Sabha polls

‘Time to take break’: Former Congress MP Priya Dutt opts out of Lok Sabha polls

Former Mumbai NorthCentral MP and senior Congress leader Priya Dutt has written to party chief Rahul Gandhi, expressing her inability to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Among the top contenders for the seat from the city now are former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, sitting MLA Arif Naseem Khan, former MLA Baba Siddique, actors Raj Babbar, Nagma, and former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin.

In the letter to Gandhi, Dutt said while she does not wish to contest for personal reasons, she will campaign for the candidates. She was reportedly unhappy over the factionalism in the party and had complained about the treatment given 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.

Dutt, a two-term MP from two suburban seats, may be given an important responsibility. “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.

“She had made it clear in her meeting with Rahul Gandhi last month. A couple of attempts by the leadership to pursue her have failed. The top leadership has also asked state leaders to tap for alternatives,” another party leader said.

If the party decides to consider a minority candidate considering the sizable Muslim population in the constituency, Khan or Siddique may be hand-picked.

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