Sushma Swaraj passed away
The popular politician, who made the foreign ministry accessible through social media, had health complications arising from diabetes, but was not suffering from any immediate health emergency. She underwent a kidney transplant in 2016 and despite a few spells of hospitalisation, was understood to be getting better.
- Swaraj did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls having ruled herself out of electoral politics. Her health and the decision to bid goodbye to the electoral arena were seen to be reasons for her exclusion from the new Modi cabinet that took oath after the BJP repeated its feat of scoring a majority.
- She continued to follow current events closely and congratulated the government for its success in nullifying the provisions of Article 370.
- A nine-time parliamentarian, a fabulous orator and a gifted administrator, Sushma Swaraj became the youngest minister of a state, Haryana, back in 1977.
- A former lawyer of Supreme Court, she started her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s.
- Swaraj had a glittering political career, beginning as an MLA in Haryana in 1977. A native of Ambala, she started as a socialist but gravitated towards BJP where she rose swiftly to become an effective campaigner and public speaker, much in demand at election time. She held portfolios at the Centre, being information and broadcasting and parliamentary affairs minister in the Vajpayee government.
- A politically astute person, she had a facility with languages, picking up Kannada for her famous showdown with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in the 1999 Lok Sabha election. Sonia had filed her nomination from Amethi and Bellary and Swaraj was pitched into the fight in Congress’s southern bastion.
- This was the start of a fierce rivalry and which saw Swaraj dramatically pledge that she would shave her head if Sonia were to become PM after NDA lost in 2004. In the event, Sonia declined the post but the competitive spirit — with a few rare flashes of camaraderie — marked their relations.
- Swaraj was a very effective orator and she delivered for BJP as leader of opposition in Lok Sabha during UPA-2. She raised the scams that hit the Manmohan Singh government — from Commonwealth Games to coal and 2G — with verve and passion, leading protests that led to the government finally conceding a parliamentary committee on the telecom scam.