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Swaraj was a ‘people’s minister’

Sushma Swaraj was the most prominent women face of the BJP in the last two decades.

Sushma Swaraj, former Foreign Minister, passes away: Reports

As external affairs minister, Swaraj brought a sense of assertiveness in India’s diplomacy and played a key role in resolving the Doklam 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 Kulbhushan Jadhav. Swaraj was known for prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians.

She had also played a key role in strengthening the BJP across the country in 1990s.

The former Union minister had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons. She is survived by her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri.

Swaraj had many firsts to her credit such as being the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for a national political party in the country.

Sushma Swaraj
Journalists gather outside All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj died at the hospital in New Delhi on Aug 6, 2019. IANS

She started her political life with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’ student wing, and later joined the BJP.

She was the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996 and got the Cabinet portfolio again after he led the BJP to power in 1998.

Always eager to take on a challenge, Swaraj contested against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in 1999 Lok Sabha polls. Though she fell short of votes, she grew in stature.

Long seen as a protege of veteran BJP leader L K Advani, she also was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.

Swaraj, a law graduate who practised in the Supreme Court, was elected seven times as a member of Parliament and three times as a member of the legislative assembly.

Swaraj was external affairs minister from 2014 to 2019, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014, minister for information and broadcasting in Vajpayee government from 2000-2003. She was also chief minister of Delhi in 1998.

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