External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said he joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as he felt it was the right party at right time for India’s rise and progress.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with ANI, Mr Jaishankar said, “I am a Rajya Sabha member. My term expires this year. After that, we will have to see. I am honestly in awe of people irrespective of the party who spent their lives in politics. You do not know how incredibly hard it is. How demanding it is. It is only when you are in politics, you can actually see what it is.”
Mr Jaishankar’s response came after being asked whether he would contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He said that the involvement in Rajya Sabha is much less than that of the Lok Sabha.
“Those who particularly contest Lok Sabha election are like the cutting edge. I am getting into politics at a fairly ripe age from another profession. As a minister, I have to spend a lot of time here. As a Delhi person, I have to spend a lot of time here. Rajya Sabha demands are far less than the Lok Sabha demands,” he stressed.
Asked about his joining politics, Mr Jaishankar said, “I gave it a lot of thought. I became a minister at the end of May. I roughly thought about a month before joining the party. I joined because my sense is that they are the right party at right time for India’s rise and progress. I had no active desire to join politics at all. It came as a complete surprise. The Prime Minister could even consider me for such a job and I became a minister even before joining a political party. So I would be different from many other people who may also be in bureaucracy before they went into that role.”
The minister said that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who asked him to join the cabinet after BJP returned to power in 2019.
“Who asked me to join the cabinet, yes, the PM asked me,” he said.
Recalling his first meeting with PM Modi in 2011, Mr Jaishankar said, “When did I meet Modi first? I met him in Beijing in 2011 in November. He was Chief Minister then. He had come on a visit that is how our acquaintance started. I assume in light of later events I must have made a good impression.”
The Minister further remarked that the environment in Delhi is more polarised than it should be.
“I do feel sometimes the argumentation, debates, the relationships and civility especially in Delhi is more polarized than it should be…than it should be for the people concern for the good of the country. I do not necessarily build my friendships on party positions.”
S Jaishankar has an illustrious career of 38 years as a diplomat. He was India’s Ambassador in China, the Czech Republic, the US and Singapore. He also served as India’s foreign secretary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked him up to be part of his cabinet in 2019 as External Affairs Minister.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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