A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister of External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj passed away on 06 July, 2019 in New Delhi after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. She was 67. She is survived by her husband Shri Swaraj Kaushal and her daughter Bansuri.
On the same day of 06 July, 2019, just an hour before the cardiac arrest, Smt. Swaraj had congratulated the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Twitter as the Parliament cleared the resolution to revoke Article 370 and passed a bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir.
She said: “Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she tweeted at 7.23pm.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences around 9.30pm after she complained of chest pain. Doctors at AIIMS tried to revive her but failed. Several Union Ministers, including Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Smt. Smriti Irani and others reached AIIMS after she was admitted to the hospital.
Noteworthy, Smt. Sushma Swaraj had undergone a kidney transplant at AIIMS in 2016, when she was foreign minister in the first Modi government.
In a series of tweets, PM Shri Narendra Modi called Smt. Sushma Swaraj a “prolific orator and outstanding Parliamentarian” who was “admired and revered across party lines”. Prime Minister said her death was a “personal loss” for him, lauding her “tireless” work as foreign minister, even when she was ill.
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi further 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.”
Smt. Swaraj’s last prominent public appearance was on 30 May, 2019, when Modi government 2.0 was sworn in. At that time, she appeared to be in good health. She was in good spirits and interacted with politicians across party lines.
On 29 June, she announced that she had vacated her official residence as she was no longer a minister. Her announcement drew praise on social media for setting an example of probity for other politicians.
In November last year, Smt. Sushma Swaraj announced that she will not be contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections due to health reasons.
An excellent administrator, Smt. Sushma Swaraj set high standards in every Ministry she handled. She played a key role in bettering India’s ties with various nations. As a minister we also saw her compassionate side, helping fellow Indians who were in distress in any part of the world.
She made her mark with her hands-on approach towards her responsibilities and ability to connect with people as the external affairs minister in the first Narendra Modi-led NDA government. During her tenure, Smt. Swaraj had been active and popular on social media reaching out to the Indian diaspora in distress for assistance.
Smt. Swaraj, who entered politics in the mid-70s, was the first prominent woman leader of the BJP and a powerful orator who was fluent in both Hindi and English. As Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the UPA tenure, she had made a mark for herself.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj’s most prominent electoral battle was against Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in 1999. Bellary was known to be a Congress bastion, as the party had not lost a single Lok Sabha election from the seat. Smt. Swaraj, however, gave Congress leader Sonia Gandhi a tough fight in the party’s stronghold. She learnt Kannada in just 30 days and even delivered speeches in the language. She lost by only 56,000 votes, but subsequently, got a Cabinet berth in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. She held the portfolios of Information and Broadcasting and Health and Family Welfare.
Many firsts of Smt. Sushma Swaraj’s political career
Smt. Sushma Swaraj began her political career with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Emergency in 1977. That year, at the age of 25, she joined the Haryana government as education minister, thus becoming the country’s youngest state Cabinet Minister.
She was also Delhi’s first female Chief Minister, holding that post from 13 October, 1998 to 03 December, 1998.
In 2007, she notched yet another achievement, becoming the first woman to be given the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award.
Smt. Swaraj was also the first woman to hold the post of the General Secretary and spokesperson in BJP.
Among the several firsts to Smt. Sushma Swaraj’s credit are — youngest cabinet minister to serve in the Haryana government at the age of 25 in 1977 and first full-time woman foreign minister of India (Indira Gandhi held additional charge of the ministry when she was prime minister).
LAST RESPECT AT RESIDENCE AND BJP HEADQUARTERS
Leaders cutting across party line paid heartfelt tributes to Smt. Sushma Swaraj at her residence on 06 July, 2019. Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Several leaders, including PM Shri Narendra Modi, Vice-President Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Senior BJP leader LK Advani, BJP President Shri Amit Shah, Working President Shri JP Nadda, many Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Opposition Leaders like Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Samajwadi Party founder and former Uttar Pradesh CM, Mulayam Singh Yadav, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Kerala’s former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, TMC MP Derek O’Brien, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Yog guru Ramdev paid homage in front of her mortal remains kept in her residence.
Earlier in the day, a teary-eyed Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to Smt. Sushma Swaraj. PM was seen consoling her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri, after paying his tributes. As Swaraj Kaushal spoke, tears welled up in the Prime Minister’s eyes.
On the next day Karyakartas and people were given an opportunity to pay their last respects to Smt. Swaraj at the BJP Headquarters in New Delhi. BJP Karyakartas jostled to have a glimpse of Smt. Swaraj one last time as her body was brought in a glass casket from her residence to the party headquarters.
The funeral procession of Smt. Sushma Swaraj from BJP headquarters to Lodhi crematorium was led by her daughter Bansuri, while BJP Working President Shri JP Nadda, Union Ministers Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shri Piyush Goyal and others played pallbearers and gave shoulder to the mortal remains which was wrapped in Tricolour.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Vice-President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Shri LK Advani, BJP President Shri Amit Shah, Working President Shri JP Nadda, former Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay, Union Ministers Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and Shri Piyush Goyal among others – attended the last rites.
Bansuri Swaraj and Swaraj Kaushal, daughter and husband of Smt. Sushma Swaraj, pay tributes as state honours are accorded to her.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj was cremated with full state honours at Delhi’s Lodhi crematorium on 07 August, 2017.
The untimely demise of Smt. Swaraj, who was known for her oratory and administrative skills, leaves a major void in Indian politics. The history of Bharatiya Janata Party can never be complete without Smt. Sushma Swaraj and the workers of the party will be inspired by her for generations. She continues to be a source of strength for us even though she is no longer with us. The party will continue to move forward on the path shown by her.
CONDOLENCE MESSAGES FROM COLLEAGUES
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi: “Can’t forget the manner in which Sushma Ji worked tirelessly as EAM in the last 5 years. Even when her health was not good, she would do everything possible to do justice to her work and remain up to date with matters of her Ministry. The spirit and commitment was unparalleled. Sushma Ji’s demise is a personal loss. She will be remembered fondly for everything that she’s done for India. My thoughts are with her family, supporters and admirers in this very unfortunate hour. Om Shanti”.
Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah : “Passing away of Sushma Swaraj ji is a great loss to BJP & Indian politics. I pay condolences to her family, supporters, & well-wishers on behalf of all BJP workers.”
BJP Working President Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda : “Sushma Ji is no more with us, it is a sad incident for not only BJP but the whole country. She inspired us, her last tweet tells us how she was involved in serving the nation in an emotional way.”
Senior BJP leader LK Advani : “The nation has lost a remarkable leader. To me, it is an irreparable loss and I will miss Sushmaji’s presence immensely. May her soul rest in peace. My heartfelt condolences to Swaraj ji, Bansuri & all members of her family. Om Shanti,”
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla : “Sushma Swaraj ji was an ambassador of the Indian culture. She understood everyone’s problems and served them. We are standing with her family”.
Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari : “Passing away of Sushma ji is a personal loss for me,
BJP, and the country. Since the inception of the party, she played a key role in its expansion. When I was the President of BJP, she gave me guidance as an elder sister.”
BJP National Vice President Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan : “Sushma ji was a true daughter of Bharat mata, she spent her whole life in service of Bharat mata and people. She increased the country’s prestige in the world. She was waiting to see the abrogation of Article 370 from Kashmir and left all of us after that.”
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan : “I’m deeply saddened, I never thought Sushma ji will leave us so early. She loved and guided me as an elder sister for 3 decades. She had extraordinary personality and talent, she was a caring human.”
Haryana Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal Khattar : “Swarajji was a great leader, an astute stateswoman and above all, a kindhearted person, loved and respected by all. The nation would always remain indebted for her contribution towards society and the country”.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath : “Deep condolences on the demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ji. She was known for a clean and dignified politics”.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis : “The death of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as a “personal loss”. She was well cultured and immensely talented”.
Karnataka Chief Minister Shri BS Yediyurappa : Paying last respects to former Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smt. Sushma Swaraj, at her residence in Delhi said, “It’s a great loss to the party and to the nation”.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat : “Extremely sad over the sudden demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. It’s a huge loss for the nation. I pay tributes”.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur : “My condolences to Sushma Swarajji. The demise of Swarajji is an end of a glorious chapter in Indian politics”.
EMINENT PEOPLE CONDOLES
President Shri Ram Nath Kovind: “Crores of people who loved her are sad and will miss her. She was a bright star of Indian politics and an able administrator. In the last five years as foreign minister she has made India proud globally under the leadership of the PM Modi. Her absence will be felt for a long time. I pray that she rests in peace”.
UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa: “Extraordinary woman and leader who devoted her life to public service. Deepest condolences to all of her loved ones”.
Former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee: “Shocked beyond words & distressed at passing away of Sushma Swaraj. An astute parliamentarian, an effective orator and an excellent humane leader, she’ll forever be remembered and missed. Hers was a story of hard work to heights!”
Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh: “Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was a great parliamentarian and an exceptionally talented Minister. I was shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Sushma Swaraj. I have fond memories of my association with her when she was Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. In her death, the country had lost a respected and dedicated leader”.
Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan : “A highly saddening news. An impactful politician, friendly personality, a great orator.”
Singer Lata Manageshkar: “Deeply shocked and saddened to hear about Sushma Swaraj ji’s sudden demise. A graceful and honest leader, a sensitive and selfless soul, a keen understanding of music and poetry and a dear friend. Our former external minister will be remembered fondly.”
LIFE SKETCH OF SMT. SUSHMA SWARAJ
–Smt. Sushma Swaraj (née Sharma) was born on 14 February 1952 at Ambala Cantt, Haryana to Shri Hardev Sharma and Shrimati Laxmi Devi.
–Her parents hailed from the Dharampura area of Lahore, Pakistan.
–She was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a Bachelor’s degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science.
–She studied law at Panjab University, Chandigarh. A state-level competition held by the Language Department of Haryana saw her winning the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.
–In 1973, Swaraj started practice as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India.
–She began her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s.
–Her husband, Swaraj Kaushal, was closely associated with the socialist leader George Fernandes and Sushma Swaraj became a part of George Fernandes’s legal defence team in 1975.
–She actively participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution Movement.
–After the Emergency, she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Later, she became a national leader of the BJP.
–She resigned from the Union Cabinet in October 1998 to take over as the first female Chief Minister of Delhi.She resigned from the position in December the same year.
–1977–82: Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly at the age of 25.
–1977–79: Cabinet Minister, Labour and Employment, Government of Haryana.
–1987–90: Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly.
–1987–90: Cabinet Minister, Education, Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Haryana.
–1996 [16 May – 1 June]: Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting.
–2009-14: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha
–2014–2019 [26 May 2014 – 29 May 2019]: Minister of External Affairs in the Union of India.
–Smt. Sushma Swaraj suffered a heart attack on 06 August 2019 and died in AIIMS, New Delhi
Leaders BJP lost with in a year
The Bharatiya Janata Party has lost many of its stalwarts, founding members and senior leaders, including Smt. Sushma Swaraj, within a year. While some of them had retired from active politics, a few departed while in office. Here are the leaders that the BJP lost in a year’s time :
Atal Bihari Vajpayee : Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was BJP’s first Prime Minister and the founding President of the party. He died on August 16 last year at an age of 93.
Madan Lal Khurana : Former Delhi Chief Minister, Shri Khurana started his career with Jan Sangh, and held several posts in the party and union government. He died on October 27, 2018.
Ananth Kumar : The several time member of parliament from Bengaluru was BJP’s prominent face from the south. He held ministerial position in the first BJP government under Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then under Shri Narendra Modi. He was battling cancer and died on November 12 last year.
Balram Das Tandon : Another founding member of the Jan Sangh, Shri Tandon died on August 14 in 2018 as the governor of Chhattisgarh.
Manohar Parrikar : The engineer-turned-politician served as Goa’s Chief Minister and Union defence minister under Shri Narendra Modi. Shri Parrikar was closely associated with the RSS. He died on March 17, 2019 after a prolonged illness.
Mange Ram Garg : Shri Garg represented the Wazirpur assembly constituency in the national capital between 2003 and 2008. He had held a number of positions in the BJP, including that of the President of Delhi unit. Shri Garg, who was not keeping well due to age-related issues, died at the age of 83 in July this year.
FOREIGN DIGNITARIES PAY TRIBUTES
Bangladesh lost a good friend : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Remembering her variously as “good friend”, “dear sister” and “extraordinary woman” the Bangladesh prime minister said her country had lost a “good friend”.
Swaraj made a lasting impression among the Lankan public: PM Wickremesinghe
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed sorrow at the demise of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, saying that her efforts to achieve regional policy objectives made a lasting impression among the Lankan public. In a condolence message sent to Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he said, “I have always known Mrs. Swaraj as a true friend of Sri Lanka, a neighbour and a relative of Sri Lanka who held a pleasing personality.”
Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of Sushma Swaraj: KP Sharma Oli, Nepal PM
“Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of Sushma Swaraj. Heartfelt condolences & deepest sympathies to the Govt & people of India as well as to the bereaved family members said PM of Nepal”, KP Sharma Oli.
Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka paid last respects
Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka paid last respects to Sushma Swaraj at her residence in New Delhi. Ron Malka on the demise of former EAM Sushma Swaraj, says: I convey my condolences on behalf of people & the state of Israel. It is a great loss. She was a great friend of Israel. She played a big role in the remarkable progress in Israel-India relationship.
We express our sincere condolences to the people of India: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia: “We express our sincere condolences to the people of India on the premature passing away of the former Foreign Minister of this friendly country”.
Condolences to bereaved people of India’: Ambassador of Japan to India
Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India: “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the sudden demise of Sushma Swaraj, Former EAM of India. On behalf of the government and people of Japan, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the bereaved family and people of India.
US Mission to India mourns the passing of Sushma Swaraj: U.S. Embassy
‘Today, the US Mission to India mourns the passing of Sushma Swaraj. Minister Swaraj was greatly respected & viewed as an outstanding representative of the Indian people, both at home and abroad,’ US Embassy in Delhi.
Chinese Ambassador to India condoles the death
Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong condoles the death of late BJP leader and says, “Sad to learn about the passing away of Sushma Swaraj, former Minister of External Affairs of India. Appreciate her contributions to China-India relations. Express my deep condolences to her family.”
French Ambassdor to India, Alexandre Ziegler condoles the death
French Ambassdor to India, Alexandre Ziegler condoled the death of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj: My heartfelt condolences to the family & loved ones of former EAM of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji.One of India’s most respected leaders, she showed remarkable dedication to serving her fellow citizens & took the Indo-French relationship to new heights.”
‘Key architect of renewed Maldives-India friendship’: Maldives Foreign Minister
Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of Maldives: Deeply grieved to hear the demise of my good friend Sushma Swaraj; Stateswoman extraordinaire, diplomat par excellence; A warm human being. Key architect of renewed Maldives-India friendship. May she rest in peace!”