New Delhi: Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away in Delhi following a cardiac arrest. She was admitted to AIIMS earlier yesterday. She was the first woman external affairs minister of India.
The 67-year-old leader, who had served her fourth term in Lok Sabha had long been her party’s most prominent woman face. She was the youngest cabinet minister at 25 when she joined the Haryana government in 1977 and the first woman chief minister of Delhi.
Swaraj served as the Minister of External Affairs of India from 26 May 2014 to 30 May 2019. She was elected seven times as a member of parliament and three times as a member of the legislative assembly.
Her most notable political battle was the one against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in 1999 Lok Sabha polls. She was her party’s nationalist woman counter to Gandhi, often attacked by the BJP for her Italian origins.
Earlier on tuesday, Sushma Swaraj greeted Rajya Sabha members who voted in favour of the government's resolution to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution.
She had undergone treatment for kidney failure in 2016. Citing health reasons, the former minister did not contest the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
In a tweet, Swaraj had thanked Prime Minister for everything and also expressed her delight in seeing the passage of the bill to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir. "Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime," she said.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri expressed condolences to Sushma's family & friends.
Senior BJP leader and former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj took foreign policy beyond mandarins of South Block to touch lives of common Indians in the first Modi government. The BJP veteran (67) passed away following a heart attack on Tuesday night.
Her last Twitter post was about thanking PM Narendra Modi about the government’s move on Kashmir stating that she was waiting for this day in her lifetime.
Swaraj, who was for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s most prominent woman face, did not contest the recently held Lok Sabha elections in which the party won a massive majority. Last November, she had announced she would not contest the general elections.
From being tagged the 'supermom' of India by Washington Post to becoming one of the most-followed politicians on Twitter, the late foreign minister had truly struck a chord with young and old alike with her round-the-clock social media presence, eagerness to help to any Indian in distress worldwide, and ready wit on social media.
Officials would vouch that Swaraj also handled policy matters of MEA with same finesse and developed strong chemistry with her counterparts from across the world. She was the second woman to hold post of External Affairs after Indira Gandhi.
On 19 February 2019 Swaraj accepted the prestigious Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit, which was conferred by the Spanish government in recognition of India's support in evacuating its citizens from Nepal during the earthquake in 2015.
Sushma Swaraj's political journey
- 1977–82 Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly.
- 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.
- 1990–96 Elected to Rajya Sabha (1st term)
- 1996–97 [15 May 1996 – 4 December 1997] Member, Eleventh Lok Sabha (2nd term).
- 1996 [16 May – 1 June] – Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting.
- 1998–99 [10 March 1998 – 26 April 1999] Member, Twelfth Lok Sabha (3rd term).
- 1998 [19 March – 12 October] Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting and Telecommunications (Additional charge).
- 1998 [13 October – 3 December] Chief Minister of Delhi.
- 1998 [November] – Elected from Hauz Khas Assembly constituency of Delhi Assembly. Resigned from Delhi Assembly and retained Lok Sabha seat.
- 2000–06 Member, Rajya Sabha (4th term).
- 2000–03 [30 September 2000 – 29 January 2003] Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
- 2003–04 [29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004] Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
- 2006–09 [April 2006 -] Member, Rajya Sabha (5th term).
- 2009–14 [16 May 2009 – 18 May 2014] Member, 15th Lok Sabha (6th term).
- 2009-09 [3 June 2009 – 21 December 2009] Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
- 2009–14 [21 December 2009 – 18 May 2014] Leader of the Opposition and replaced Lal Krishna Advani.
- 2014–present [26 May 2014–] Member, 16th Lok Sabha (7th term)
- 2014–2019 [26 May 2014 – 29 May 2019] Minister of External Affairs in the Union of India.