Sushma Swaraj (1952-2019)

Sushma Swaraj (1952 - 2019): A woman of many firsts


One of the most prolific politicians of India, Swaraj had many firsts to her credit.

BJP stalwart and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who died at 67 late on August 6, brought a rare empathy and a human approach to India’s diplomacy. One of the most prolific politicians of India, Swaraj had many firsts to her credit such as being the country’s youngest-ever Cabinet Minister, first woman Chief Minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for any national political party. As External Affairs Minister, Swaraj was known for prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians.

Swaraj started her political life with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’ student wing, and later joined the BJP. She had also played a key role in strengthening the BJP across the country in 1990s. 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.

Swaraj contested against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls. Though she fell short of votes, she grew in stature.

Long seen as a protégé of veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, she also was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14, again a first in the country. Swaraj, a law graduate who practised in the Supreme Court, was a seven-time MP and three-time MLA.

Leaders pay tribute to Sushma Swaraj

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