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Sushma Swaraj, BJP stalwart and former external affairs minister, dies at 67

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 07 August 2019, 02:03 AM
BREAKING: Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj passes away
BREAKING: Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj passes away

Former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday night, AIIMS sources said. She was 67. The senior BJP leader was brought to AIIMS around 9:30pm and was straight away taken to the emergency ward. AIIMS doctors said she died of a cardiac arrest.

“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,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a series of tweets.

“Narendra Modi ji - Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she had said. Prime Minister Modi, in his tweets, hailed Swaraj as a “prolific orator and outstanding parliamentarian” and said she was admired and revered across party lines.

“She was uncompromising when it came to matters of ideology and interests of the BJP, whose growth she immensely contributed to,” PM Modi said.

“An excellent administrator, Sushma Ji 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,” he said.

READ | 'Was waiting to see this day in my lifetime': Sushma Swaraj's LAST tweet before death

Several senior ministers, including Harsh Vardhan, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani Prakash Javadekar, reached AIIMS after she was admitted to the hospital. Sushma Swaraj's husband and other family members, along with BJP leaders Dr Harshvardhan and Nitin Gadkari are present at AIIMS. A star minister during Modi government's first stint, Sushma Swaraj did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and chose to sit out of the government this year on account of her health.

“Extremely shocked to hear of the passing of Smt Sushma Swaraj. The country has lost a much loved leader who epitomised dignity, courage & integrity in public life. Ever willing to help others, she will always be remembered for her service to the people of India,” President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was deeply shocked and anguished by the sudden demise of an extremely valued colleague.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of Smt Sushma Swaraj. Difficult to accept this news. The whole nation grieves, the Foreign Ministry even more so.”

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The Congress condoled her demise. “We are saddened to hear about the untimely demise of Smt Sushma Swaraj. Our condolences to her family and loved ones,” the party said.

“I’m 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,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.

Swaraj had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons. She is survived by her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri.

Earlier today, after the passage of Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation bill, Sushma took to Twitter and wrote, " @narendramodi ji - Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime."

READ | Sushma Swaraj's demise irreparable damage to Indian politics, tweets Amit Shah

After PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony last month, Sushma Swaraj wrote an emotional message on Twitter, thanking PM Narendra Modi for giving her the opportunity to hold the office for five years.

In the tweet, Sushma Swaraj said, "Prime Minister, you gave me an opportunity to serve our countrymen and overseas Indians as the Foreign Minister for five years and personally, also, gave me respect throughout my tenure. I am very grateful to you. I pray that our government becomes very successful."

First Published: Tuesday, August 06, 2019 11:21 PM

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