Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Turns Down BJP's Election Offer, Cites Lack Of Funds

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declines BJP's offer to contest Lok Sabha elections, citing lack of funds. BJP President offered her options in Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu, but she expressed concerns about financial requirements and winnability criteria.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Photo: PTI

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently revealed that she turned down an offer from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections due to financial constraints. Speaking at the TIMES NOW Summit 2024, Sitharaman explained that she simply did not possess the funds required to run a successful campaign.

According to Sitharaman, BJP President JP Nadda presented her with the option to contest from either Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu. After pondering over the decision for a week or so, she ultimately decided against it.

"I do not have that kind of money to contest," she stated. Sitharaman also expressed concerns about the various criteria involved in determining a candidate's "winnability," such as community and religious affiliations.

"I am very grateful they accepted my argument... So I am not contesting," she added.

Responding to questions about why the country's finance minister lacked the necessary funds, Sitharaman clarified that her personal finances were separate from the Consolidated Fund of India. "My salary, my earnings, and my savings are mine and not the Consolidated Fund of India," she asserted.

Despite declining to run for a Lok Sabha seat, Sitharaman assured that she would actively participate in the election process by supporting other BJP candidates. "I will attend a lot of media events and go with the candidates - like tomorrow I will be going for Rajiv Chandrasekhar's campaign. I'll be on the campaign trail," she stated.

BJP has nominated several existing Rajya Sabha members for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, scheduled to begin on April 19. Among these are prominent figures such as Piyush Goyal, Bhupender Yadav, Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Mansukh Mandaviya, and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Nirmala Sitharaman herself is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka.