BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passes away

New Delhi: Former External Affairs Minister and veteran BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away yesterday at the age of 67. She is survived by her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri.

She suffered a massive heart attack and around 9 pm was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, but she could not be revived, said a media report.

Her body has been taken to her residence in Delhi and will be kept at the BJP headquarters from 12pm to 3pm today for party workers and leaders to pay their tributes. Sushma’s last rites will be performed at the Lodhi crematorium.

Political leaders and other personalities condoled her death. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet said, “A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end. India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor. Sushma Swaraj Ji was one of her kind, who was a source of inspiration for crores of people.”

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “Extremely shocked to hear of the passing of Smt Sushma Swaraj. The country has lost a much loved leader who epitomised dignity, courage & integrity in public life. Ever willing to help others, she will always be remembered for her service to the people of India.”

She started her political life with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and later joined the BJP. She was the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for a national political party in the country. She was elected seven times as a member of Parliament and three times as a member of the legislative assembly.

She was the Information and Broadcasting Minister in 1996 and when BJP came to power in 1998 and was the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.

Swaraj was external affairs minister from 2014 to 2019, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014, minister for information and broadcasting in Vajpayee government from 2000-2003. She was also chief minister of Delhi in 1998. She played a key role in resolving the Doklam standoff with China in 2017 and in India approaching the International Court of Justice challenging a Pakistani military court’s death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The former Union minister had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons.