Sushma Swaraj death: Ex-foreign minister cremated in Delhi with full State honours; Modi, Advani, Amit Shah, Rajnath bid emotional farewell

  • Sushma Swaraj was on Wednesday cremated with State honours in Delhi as top NDA leaders bid her farewell

  • Swaraj's daughter Bansuri performed the last rites at Lodhi crematorium in Delhi

  • Narendra Modi, Venkaiah Naidu, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh were among the top dignitaries who paid their final respects at the crematorium

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.

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.

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.

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.

 


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.

 Sushma Swaraj death: Ex-foreign minister cremated in Delhi with full State honours; Modi, Advani, Amit Shah, Rajnath bid emotional farewell

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