The body of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj will be kept for three hours at the BJP headquarters on Wednesday for party workers and leaders to pay tributes, BJP working president J P Nadda said. Her last rites will be performed at the Lodhi crematorium, he said. Swaraj died late Tuesday night at AIIMS after suffering a cardiac attack, doctors said. She was 67. A host of Union ministers and other senior party leaders visited AIIMS and met the bereaved family of the former external affairs minister.
A pall of gloom descended at the hospital as the news of her death left everyone in shock. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Environment Minster Prakash Javadekar, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Union Minister Smriti Irani were among the top leaders who visited the hospital.
“Her loss is irreparable and the void left by her can never be filled. It’s a huge loss to the party and the nation,” Nadda said.
Nadda told reporters the body will be kept at the party headquarters from 12-3 pm for people to pay respects on Wednesday after which it will be taken to Lodhi Crematorium for the last rites.
Prasad said it was a personal loss for him.
“We used to address her as ‘didi’ and the respect she commanded was phenomenal. She was fine in the morning and then suddenly we got this news. It is a painful loss for me and for the nation,” he told reporters.
Senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain also grieved the loss, saying Swaraj had guided him in his career and “she was a leader liked by everyone, from the ruling to the opposition parties”.
Her contribution in the external affairs ministry is substantial as she left a mark in the field, he said.