Former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj was cremated with State honours on Wednesday in Delhi as top NDA leaders bid her farewell.
Swaraj's daughter Bansuri performed the last rites at Lodhi crematorium, where the mortal remains of the former Union minister were brought from the BJP headquarters.
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were among the top dignitaries who laid wreath to pay their final respects at the crematorium. Former Bhutan prime minister Tshering Tobgay was also present at the premises, where hundreds had gathered.
Delhi: PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and former Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay at Lodhi crematorium. #SushmaSwaraj pic.twitter.com/YfIX6o51sp — ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2019
Swaraj, who also served as the Leader of Opposition during UPA-II and chief minister of Delhi, died in New Delhi on Tuesday at the age of 67 after suffering a heart attack. Sources at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told ANI that the 67-year-old was feeling restless at 9 pm and was brought to the hospital at around 9.30 pm in an ambulance. She was declared dead at 10.50 pm.
Her body, which was kept at her residence overnight, was brought to the BJP headquarters at 12 pm on Wednesday for public homage.
After BJP workers and leaders paid their respects, Singh, JP Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and few other BJP leaders lent shoulders to the mortal remains of Swaraj as they were being taken from BJP headquarters to the Lodhi crematorium.
#WATCH Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal & other BJP leaders give shoulder to mortal remains of #SushmaSwaraj as they are being taken from BJP headquarters to Lodhi crematorium in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/H72kZ3lpQw
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2019
Swaraj was the foreign minister in the first term of the Modi government in 2014. She had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of the 2019 Lok Sabha election due to health reasons. Just hours before her death, Swaraj had tweeted to congratulate Modi after the Parliament cleared a resolution to revoke the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. "Narendra Modi ji — Thank you prime minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime," she had tweeted. One of the most prolific politicians of India, Swaraj's sudden demise triggered a wave of shock and grief, with leaders cutting across political spectrum paying glowing tributes to the astute leader.
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. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2019
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 🙏
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 6, 2019
India has lost a great leader. Sushma ji was a very warm and remarkable person. May her soul rest in peace.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 7, 2019
Deeply saddened, shocked at the sudden passing away of Sushma Swaraj Ji.I knew her since the 1990s.Even though our ideologies differed, we shared many cordial times in Parliament. An outstanding politician, leader, good human being.Will miss her.Condolences to her family/admirers — Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 6, 2019
बीजेपी की वरिष्ठ नेता व केन्द्रीय मंत्री रही श्रीमती सुषमा स्वराज के अचानक निधन की खबर अति-दुःखद है। वे काफी कुशल राजनीतिज्ञ व प्रशासक ही नहीं बल्कि एक अति-मिलनसार महिला थीं। उनके परिवार के प्रति गहरी संवेदना। — Mayawati (@Mayawati) August 6, 2019
Shocked to hear about the sad demise of Sushmaji Swaraj. She would always call me ‘Sharad Bhau‘. We’ve lost a great statesman, eloquent orator, efficient administrator, fellow parliamentarian and above all a kind hearted person.
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) August 6, 2019
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he was "deeply shocked" to learn about the demise of his predecessor. "The whole nation grieves, the foreign ministry, even more so," he said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve said that he was "stunned" on hearing about her demise as he had spoken to her on phone at 8.45 pm.
"At 8.45 pm, I had a talk with her. She said, 'You have to come and take your fees of Re 1 for the Kulbhushan Jadhav case'. Just 10 min post that, she had a cardiac arrest," he was quoted as saying by ANI. Salve had represented the Indian side in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice.
As external affairs minister, Swaraj brought a sense of assertiveness in India's diplomacy and played a key role in resolving the Doka La standoff with China in 2017. She had also played a key role in India approaching the International Court of Justice challenging a Pakistani military court's death sentence to ex-navy officer Jadhav.
Swaraj was known for prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians. She had also played a key role in strengthening BJP across the country in 1990s.
In 1996, during the 13-day government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Swaraj was instrumental in taking a key decision in ensuring live telecasting of Lok Sabha debates as the information and broadcasting minister.
Swaraj was external affairs minister from 2014 to 2019, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014, and minister for information and broadcasting in Vajpayee government from 2000-2003. She was also chief minister of Delhi in 1998.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2019 11:17:52 IST