Sushma Swaraj's body to be kept at BJP HQ today, last rites at Lodhi crematorium

New Delhi: The body of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj will be kept for three hours at the BJP headquarters on Wednesday for people to pay tributes, BJP working president J P Nadda said.

Swaraj died late Tuesday night at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after suffering a cardiac attack, doctors said. She was 67. The body will be kept at the party headquarters from 12pm-3 pm for people to pay their respects on Wednesday after which it will be taken to the Lodhi Crematorium for the last rites, Nadda told reporters at the hospital.

A host of Union ministers and other senior party leaders visited AIIMS and met the bereaved family of the former external affairs minister. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, 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. Swaraj was taken to AIIMS around 9:30 PM in a critical condition and was straight away taken to the emergency ward where a team of doctors attended to her but could not revive the astute politician, sources at the hospital said. The body was later taken to her Delhi residence, they said. 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 said. 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.

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