News & Information From Northeast India

Seasoned parliamentarian, former minister Sushma Swaraj passes away

A seasoned parliamentarian, former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday night. She was 67.

Late Swaraj – survived by her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri – passed away following cardiac arrest.

The senior BJP leader was brought to AIIMS around 9:30 pm “after she complained of restlessness at home”. She was straight away taken to the emergency ward.

“At around 9:55 pm she got severe cardiac arrest… a team of doctors immediately gave her reciprocatory treatment, as she was into cardiac arrest. But despite all efforts she could not be retrieved,” a source in city’s premier AIIMS told news agency UNI.

Late Swaraj had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls this year on health ground.

“As precaution, I have been advised to avoid dust,” Swaraj told journalists in February during an informal luncheon interaction in New Delhi.

Ironically, Swaraj, who during her stint as India’s foreign minister made a name with her Twitter diplomacy, had put out a missive in the evening congratulating Prime Modi for abrogation of Article 370 for Jammu & Kashmir and said: “Narendra Modi ji – Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime.”

Sadly, she did not live long since that Twitter missive for Narendra Modi – whom she also called ‘Narendra bhai’.

In his condolence message, Prime Minister Modi 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”.

BJP chief Amit Shah described her as a powerful orator and an “ideal party worker”. Union ministers including Harsh Vardhan, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar and party MPs like SS Ahluwalia, onetime her close associate in Rajya Sabha, reached AIIMS.

“She (Swaraj) was uncompromising when it came to matters of ideology and interests of the BJP, whose growth she immensely contributed to,” prime minister also tweeted.

President Ram Nath Kovind said he was – “Extremely shocked to hear of the passing of Smt Sushma Swaraj. The country has lost a much loved leader who epitomised dignity, courage and integrity in public life”.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “….The whole nation grieves, the Foreign Ministry even more so.”

The Congress party in its Twitter handle said: “We are saddened to hear about the untimely demise of Smt Sushma Swaraj. Our condolences to her family and loved ones”.

“I am shocked to hear about the demise of Sushma Swaraj Ji, an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator & an exceptional Parliamentarian, with friendships across party lines. My condolences to her family in this hour of grief. May her soul rest in peace. Om Shanti,” said Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

As soon as the news about her demise spread, a large number of her admirers had rushed to the AIIMS and later to her residence.

At her residence, Swaraj Kaushal was seen interacting with mourners.

In a rather emotive Twitter missive, Union Minister Smriti Irani wrote: “I have an axe to grind with you Didi (Sushma Swaraj) . You made Bansuri pick a restaurant to take me for a celebratory lunch. You left without fulfilling your promise to the two of us”.

As they say some season just comes in, with Sushma Swaraj’s demise, the national capital has lost yet another political stalwart and in fact the third ‘former chief ministers’ since October last.

On October 27, 2018 Madan Lal Khurana breathed his last. While an ailing Swaraj died on Tuesday night, three-time chief minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away on July 20.

Former BJP chief of city unit Mange Lal Garg also expired in July.

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