Former union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan quits politics; says returning to his ENT clinic

Dr Harsh Vardhan . File Photo: Manorama

New Delhi: Former Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday declared that he is ending his 30-year-long political career a day after BJP announced its list of candidates for the upcoming general elections. It is rumoured that Harsh Vardhan took the step after his party denied a ticket for him. He announced his decision through a long post on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

The party has named Praveen Khandelwal as its candidate from Chandani Chowk Lok Sabha Sabha seat, dropping two-term MP and former Union minister Harsh Vardhan.

In a long post on X, Vardhan said he will return to his roots after over 30 years of a "glorious electoral career". Looking back at his journey, he said, "I shall continue to pursue my work against tobacco and substance abuse, against climate change and teaching simple and sustainable lifestyles."

"After over thirty years of a glorious electoral career, during which I won all the five assembly and two parliamentary elections that I fought with exemplary margins, and held a multitude of prestigious positions in the party organisation and the governments at the state and centre I finally bow out to return to my roots," he said on X.

The former Union minister said service to mankind was his motto when he joined MBBS in GSVM Medical College, Kanpur 50 years back with a desire to help the poor and needy.

"A swayamsewak at heart, I have always been an ardent admirer of Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji's Antodaya philosophy of striving to serve the last man in the queue. It was at the insistence of the then-RSS leadership that I jumped into the electoral fray.

"They could convince me only because for me politics meant the opportunity to fight our three main enemies - poverty, disease and ignorance," he said in the same post.

The MP said he had twice served as Delhi health minister and Union health minister. "Without remorse, I must say that it has been a marvellous innings during which my passion to serve the common man was quenched. I served as Delhi Health Minister as well as twice as Union Health Minister, a subject close to my heart.

"I had the rare opportunity bestowed upon me to be able to first work towards creating a polio-free Bharat and then to take care of the health of millions of our countrymen grappling with the dreaded COVID-19 during its first and second phases," he recalled.

He said it was a great privilege to work with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I must acknowledge that I consider it a great privilege to have worked closely with the most dynamic Prime Minister in India's history, Shri Narendra Modi ji. The country wishes him a heroic return to power again," he said.

In the long history of mankind, only a few have been granted the privilege to defend their people in hours of gravest danger, he said, adding that he can proudly claim that he did not shirk responsibility, but welcomed it.

"My gratitude to Ma Bharati, my reverence to my fellow citizens and my obeisance to the values enshrined in our Constitution. And yes, that was the biggest privilege that Bhagwan Shri Ram bestowed upon me, the privilege of being able to save human lives !!" he said.

He signed off with the famous lines by Robert Frost. "I move on, I really can't wait. I have promises to keep.. and miles to go before I sleep !! I have a dream.. and I know your blessings shall always remain with me. My ENT clinic at Krishna Nagar too awaits my return," he said.

In 2014, Vardhan had defeated Kapil Sibal, then with the Congress, to win the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat while in the 2019 polls, he trounced Congress' Jai Prakash Agarwal.

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