Sushma Swaraj passes away | Key updates: Cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium, daughter performs last rites

The mortal remains of Sushma Swaraj being taken to the cortege as the last journey begins. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP working president J.P. Nadda are also seen.

The mortal remains of Sushma Swaraj being taken to the cortege as the last journey begins. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP working president J.P. Nadda are also seen.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

“A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end,” says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj died at the AIIMS in New Delhi late on August 6. She was 67. The senior BJP leader suffered a cardiac arrest. She was administered CPR but did not respond.

Swaraj 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.

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Updates:

5 p.m.

Sushma Swaraj's body has been consigned to flames at the Lodhi Road crematorium.

Her daughter Bansuri performed the last rites.

Hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and veteran party leader L.K. Advani, bid farewell to former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj as her mortal remains were consigned to flames at the Lodhi Road crematorium here on Wednesday

4.30 p.m.

Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot arrive at the crematorium.

4.10 p.m.

Sushma Swaraj's cabinet colleagues await her mortal remains at the Lodi Road crematorium. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, L.K. Advani, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP working president J.P. Nadda are present.

The Prime Minister, with L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh offer their condolences to the family.

3.15 p.m.

Sonia Gandhi condoles Sushma's death

Calling Sushma Swaraj a "lady of extraordinary gifts", UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said she was shocked and saddened about the death of the BJP leader.

In a letter addressed to Swaraj Kaushal, Ms. Gandhi said, "In our many years together as colleagues in the Lok Sabha, we developed a warm personal relationship and I feel her loss greatly."

2.45 pm

Traffic restrictions near Lodhi Road

The traffic will remain affected near Lodhi Road due to the cremation of former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, police said on Wednesday.

Traffic on Lodhi Road, Lala Lajpat Rai Marg, near Neela Gumbad, Moolchand Flyover, Defence Colony Flyover, Lodhi Road Flyover and on adjoining roads will be affected from 2 pm to 5:30 pm.

 

2.15 pm

BJP workers and mourners on Wednesday gathered in large numbers at the party headquarters on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Sushma Swaraj.

Some cried inconsolably and others fought back their tears as top party leaders, including BJP president Amit Shah and working president J P Nadda, covered Swaraj’s body with the national flag and paid their tributes.

Crowds chanted “Jab tak suraj chand rahega didi tera naam rahega” (Her name will endure till as long as the Sun and the Moon), bidding her goodbye after the hearse carrying her left her home.

12.40 p.m.

Gujarat govt, BJP cancel events after Swaraj’s death

The Gujarat government and the ruling BJP have cancelled all their programmes scheduled for Wednesday in view of Swaraj's passing.

The state government was supposed to organise a grand event in Gandhinagar on Wednesday to celebrate Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s three years in office.

However, the programme has been cancelled following Swaraj’s death, a government release said.

The ruling BJP in the state has also cancelled its various engagements, including the ongoing membership drive, scheduled for Wednesday, a party release said.

- PTI

12.30 p.m.

Sporting fraterntity mourns

India’s sporting fraternity, led by cricket captain Virat Kohli, mourned the demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

“Deeply saddened by the news of Sushma Ji’s demise, may her soul rest in peace,” Kohli wrote on his twitter page.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said Swaraj will always live in the hearts and minds of the people. “I have no words left with me at this point of time. She truly lived for the motherland INDIA. Sushma ji, you will forever live in our heart and mind,” he said.

Former Sports Minister and Olympic silver-medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore expressed shock at the sudden death of the senior leader. “Shocked by the sudden demise of Sushma Swarajji. In a political career spanning over 50 years, she touched a billion hearts with her strength, grace and compassion. Her clutter breaking approach as the External Affairs Minister will always be revered and remembered,” he tweeted.

Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir said her death is a huge loss for the country. “I’m beyond aggrieved at the passing away of Sushma Swaraj A veteran politician and a pillar of the BJP, she was loved by everyone. She will be remembered as the most endearing and helpful politicians of recent times. My condolences to her family and friends. A huge loss for India,” said Gambhir.

Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag expressed his sympathies with Swaraj’s family. “Heartfelt condolences to family and admirers of Sushma Swarajji,” tweeted the former Indian opener.

Tennis ace Sania Mirza said she had the honour of working with the BJP leader. “Shocked at the passing away of my dear Sushma Swarajji. Had the honour of working as the brand ambassador of the ‘girl child’ campaign under her able guidance and will cherish my personal relationship with her forever. R.I.P. ma’am,” said Sania.

- PTI

12.15 p.m.

Telangana CM, political leaders condole death

Several political leaders including Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya condoled the death of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday.

In his condolence message late on Tuesday night, Mr. Rao praised Swaraj’s services to the nation in different capacities.

Mr. Dattatreya, who described Swaraj as an embodiment of Indian culture, on Wednesday said the departed leader strived for BJP’s rise along with its top leaders late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani.

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12.00 noon

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has mourned Sushma Swaraj's death.

"I  was shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Smt. Sushma Swaraj. I have fond memories of my association with her when she was Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. She was a leader of high esteem who was highly  respected by everybody irrespective of party-lines. She was a great Parliamentarian and exceptionally talented Minister of the Union Government. In her death our country has lost a respected and dedicated leader."

11.45 p.m.

Haryana declares 2-day state mourning for Swaraj

The Haryana government on Wednesday declared a two-day state mourning as a mark of respect.

“The state government has decided to observe a two-day state mourning as a mark of respect to the departed dignitary,” an order issued by chief secretary’s office said.

The national flag will fly at half-mast on Wednesday and Thursday in the state on all buildings where it is flown regularly, the order said.

- PTI

11.30 a.m.

Rajya Sabha mourns Sushma's demise

Rajya Sabha Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu read out an obituary reference on the passing away of Swaraj.

"She was like my sister. She used to call me Anna. Every year she used to tie me rakhi," an emotional Mr. Naidu said in the House.

11.15 a.m.

President Ram Nath Kovind pays last respects to Sushma Swaraj

 

Home Minister Amit Shah said Swaraj's death was a great loss not just for BJP for the entire political landscape of the country.

“She was the shining star of our party, she worked tirelessly under guidance of Atalji and Advaniji. She served with dedication in Modiji's 1st term. I am deeply saddened today," he said.

Also read | Rajya Sabha mourns Sushma Swaraj's demise

Former PM and JD(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda writes to Swaraj Kaushal, husband of late former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj: "My heartfelt condolences to the family. I pray the Almighty to give your benign self, all the family members, followers&well-wishers the strength to overcome this tragedy."

10.00 a.m.

PM Modi visits Swaraj's residence, pays his respects

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the residence of former union minister Sushma Swaraj and paid his respects.

A visibly overwhelmed Mr. Modi consoled family members of Swaraj.

The Prime Minister is set to attend her funeral in the evening, official sources said.

The Union Cabinet could also meet during the day to pass a resolution condoling the demise of Swaraj.

 

 

 

9.30 a.m.

Indian diaspora condoles Sushma Swaraj’s demise

The Indian diaspora condoled the demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and remembered her as a “caring” and “remarkable” leader.

One of the most prolific politicians of India, who brought a rare empathy and a human approach to the nation’s diplomacy, Swaraj’s sudden demise triggered a wave of shock and grief among Indians living in Houston, who remembered her as a charismatic and dynamic leader, and a woman of grit.

“She will be remembered for her leadership in opening up the external affairs ministry and consulates across the globe to any Indian who needed help,” the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston’s founding secretary Jagdip Ahluwalia said.

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8.00 a.m.

 

The Delhi government will observe a 2-day State mourning as mark of respect in memory of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has said.

Swaraj was Chief Minister of Delhi for a brief period from October-December 1998.

“Delhi govt will observe two days state mourning as a mark of respect in the memory of former Chief Minister & senior leader respected Sushma Swaraj ji,” Mr. Sisodia tweeted.

Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal condoled her death, saying the country has lost a great leader.

“India has lost a great leader. Sushma ji was a very warm and remarkable person. May her soul rest in peace,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted.

4 a.m.

A long political career

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.

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.

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. — PTI

2 a.m.

Sushma Swaraj, a woman of many firsts

Swaraj had many firsts to her credit such as being the youngest Cabinet Minister in the Haryana government.

She was the:

1. First woman spokesperson for a national party in the courntry

2. First woman Chief Minister of Delhi.

3. First woman Chief Minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party

4. First woman to become the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha

5. First full-time woman External Affairs Minister of India

1 a.m.

Delhi loses three former CMs in less than a year

With Sushma Swaraj's demise, the national capital has lost three former Chief Ministers in less than a year.

Swaraj, who was the chief minister of Delhi for a brief period from October-December 1998, passed away on August 6 night due to cardiac arrest.

Three-time Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away in July this year due to cardiac arrest.

Diskhit and Swaraj died within a month.

Madan Lal Khurana, who was the Chief Minister from 1993-96, also passed away in October last year. — PTI

12.30 am

Body to be kept at BJP headquarters; cremation at 3 p.m.

The mortal remains of Sushma Swaraj reach the residence of the former External Affairs Minister near Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi on August 7, 2019.

The mortal remains of Sushma Swaraj reach the residence of the former External Affairs Minister near Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi on August 7, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Kallol Bhattacherjee

The body of 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.

The body will be kept at the party headquarters from 12p.m.-3 p.m. for people to pay their respects on Wednesday after which it will be taken to the Lodhi Crematorium for the last rites, Mr. 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.

12.05 am

Her mortal remains will be taken to her residence opposite Kerala House at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is heading the group of leaders who are taking the mortal remains of Sushma Swaraj to her residence.

12.00 am

‘Gifted orator and an exceptional Parliamentarian’

“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,” tweets outgoing Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

11.55 pm

‘Glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of the former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying a glorious chapter in Indian politics had come to an end.

“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 tweeted.

Also read | Reactions to Sushma Swaraj's death | A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end, say PM Modi

11.45 pm

The senior BJP leader was brought to AIIMS between 9.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and was straight away taken to the emergency ward.

Several senior Ministers, including Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, reached AIIMS after she was admitted to the hospital.

A family member has confirmed that she had a massive heart attack, and was brought dead to the hospital.

11.25 pm

Ms. Swaraj had put out a tweet in the evening congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Centre’s move to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the border state into two Union Territories secured Parliament’s approval.

“Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj had a kidney transplant in 2016.

(With inputs from Bindu Shajan Perapadan and PTI)

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:29:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/former-external-affairs-minister-sushma-swaraj-passes-away/article28839230.ece

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