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HomeIndiaBJP's Harsh Vardhan, "Swayamsewak At Heart", Calls Time On 30-Year Career

BJP’s Harsh Vardhan, “Swayamsewak At Heart”, Calls Time On 30-Year Career

New Delhi:

Former Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had wrapped up his three-decade-long political career to return to what he called his “roots”. In a long farewell message posted on X, formerly Twitter, he said, he would continue his work against “tobacco and substance abuse, against climate change and teaching simple and sustainable lifestyles”.

His message came as the BJP fielded Praveen Khandelwal from Chandni Chowk, a seat which Mr Vardhan holds at present. His name did not figure in the 195 names announced in the party’s first list.

The 69-year-old, who started his political career with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor, also said a “swayamsewak at heart”, he jumped into electoral politics “at the insistence of the then RSS leadership”.

“They could convince me only because for me politics meant opportunity to fight our three main enemies – poverty, disease and ignorance,” he added.

Dr Harshvardhan had stepped down from the post of the Union Health minister in July 2021, shortly before a cabinet reshuffle. He was replaced by Mansukh Mandaviya.

The Congress alleged that his exit was Centre’s tacit admission of its all-round failure to manage the Covid pandemic.

A doctor, Harsh Vardhan enjoyed a sterling record in his stints as health minister — in Delhi and then the Centre.

But the unprecedented scale of devastation during the the second that ambushed India’s health infrastructure drew massive criticism.

Thousands of patients had died, desperate for oxygen, hospital beds and vaccine.

Images of bodies floating in the Ganga or washing up on its banks in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar played out in Indian and foreign media.

His removal was seen as a strong message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the importance of performance.

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