Union minister Uma Bharti said on Monday she will not contest elections for the next three years owing to health problems. She, however, clarified that she was not retiring from politics.
"I am suffering from knee and back problems, and to recover, I will take some rest. I will not fight elections for the next three years," she told reporters here. Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation said she would not even run for the Rajya Sabha, but would campaign for the party, if asked.
The BJP MP from Jhansi said she wants to work from "9 am to 5 pm". "I want to live a balanced life, have a lifestyle according to doctors' advice," she said.
Bharti said BJP chief Amit Shah had asked her to continue as Union minister till 2019. "I had a talk over the phone with him three days ago (during which Shah told her to continue in the Union government)," she said.
There is nothing unusual about taking such a break, Bharti said, adding that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had done so for health reasons during his political career. "This doesn't mean I am retiring from politics," the 58-year-old leader said, adding she was younger than Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and two other leaders from the state - BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya and former Union Minister Prahlad Patel.
"I will have many years left in politics even after the next three years. In fact, I am focusing on health to ensure that it does not deteriorate," the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said. "I need to rejuvenate my body," she said.