BJP stalwart and former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj passes away at 67

‘Narendra Modi ji - Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime."

New Delhi: This was the last tweet of Sushma Swaraj, who died at the AIIMS on Tuesday night following cardiac arrest. She was 67. She was referring to the abrogation of Article 370, ending the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Nothing more exemplifies her belief in party’s core values and ideology.

Sushma, once seen as a challenger to PM Modi, was the pleasing and beaming face of the Ministry of External Affairs in the Modi-1 dispensation. She was popular for her tweets as much as her alacrity in responding to any Indian in distress abroad.

She came closest to recreating the Atal Bihari Vajpayee persona that many in the party pined for. The soft but no-nonsense demeanour had endeared her to both die-hard BJP ideologues as much as the man in the street. Like Vajpayee, she had a penchant for winning people’s hearts.

She was the second woman to take charge of the foreign ministry after Indira Gandhi. However, ill health forced her to quit politics. Last November, she had announced she will not be contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

But Sushma Swaraj was no political greenhorn. A seasoned politician, she was a seven-time MP and a three-time MLA. She became the youngest cabinet minister of Haryana at the age of 25, way back in 1977.

She eventually went on to hold many illustrious posts -- from the CM of Delhi to a Union minister as well as the Leader of Opposition during the UPA II tenure.

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Pra-kash Javadekar and BJP Working President J.P. Nadda arrived at the hospital as they got the news.Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death, lauding her services in helping Indians abroad."

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."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," he said in a series of tweets.

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