I am deeply distressed at the untimely demise of one of my closest colleagues, Sushma Swaraj ji. Sushmaji was someone who I have known and worked with since the beginning of her illustrious innings in the Bharatiya Janata Party. When I was the President of the BJP in the eighties, she was a promising young activist who I had inducted into my team. And over the years, she became one of the most popular and prominent leaders of our party- in fact, a role model for women leaders. A brilliant orator, I was often amazed at her ability to recall incidents, events and present them with utmost clarity and eloquence. Sushmaji was also a fine human being. She touched everyone with her warmth and compassionate nature. I do not recall a single year when she missed bringing my favourite chocolate cake to me on my birthday. The nation has lost a remarkable leader. To me, it is an irrepairable loss and I will miss Sushmaji’s presence immensely. May her soul rest in peace. My heartfelt condolences to Swaraj ji, Bansuri and all members of her family. Om Shanti.