Sushma disappears behind tears, memories ...
THE FINAL HUG: Bansuri Swaraj and Swaraj Kaushal, daughter and husband of Sushma Swaraj paying last tributes to the departed leader at BJP headquarters on Wednesday.
The Hitavada Delhi Bureau & Agencies
ALL the flamboyance, the ever-green smile, the eternal glow on the face, the apolitical warmth of the person ... all disappeared behind tears and became memories as daughter Bansuri performed the last rites to give the final send off to Sushma Swaraj, her mother -- who was also a mother to countless people upon whom she showered unconditional love all her life.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid last tribute to former external affairs minister Sushma Swraj araj.
Husband Swaraj Kaushal stood by the young daughter as the mortal remains of the departed leader slid into the electric crematorium. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior leader Lal Krishna Advani, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, several other political leaders including BJP Working President J P Nadda, several Members of Parliament, Government officials and common people in countless thousands thronged the Lodhi Crematorium on Wednesday afternoon to see off the leader who was famously described also as ‘Guardian’ of one and all.
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay also joined the mourners at the funeral with state honours. Delhi police personnel sounded the bugle, strains of vedic mantras recited in background as her body was taken to the electric crematorium. The Delhi Government had declared a two-day state mourning as a mark of respect to the late BJP leader. The BJP leader, known as a powerful orator and the minister with the people’s touch, passed away on Tuesday night after a massive cardiac arrest. She was 67. Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top party leaders, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and hundreds paid their last respects to former External Affairs Minister at her residence. A visibly upset Modi was seen paying an emotional tribute to the leader.
He met her daughter consoled her, and spend a long time patiently hearing her husband. Home Minister Amit Shah, who also went to Swaraj’s residence, said her death has created a great void that would be hard to fill. “Crores of people who loved her are sad and will miss her. She was a bright star of Indian politics and an able administrator. In the last five years as Foreign Minister she has made India proud globally under the leadership of the PM. Her absence will be felt for a long time. I pray that she rests in peace,” he told reporters.
Veteran leader L K Advani, who was known as Swaraj’s mentor, was tearful as he stood besides the body of his long-time compatriot. Remembering her fondly, he said in a statement that she never missed bringing his favourite chocolate cake to him on his birthday. She was a promising young activist who he had inducted into his team, he noted. “And over the years, she became one of the most popular and prominent leaders of our party- in fact, a role model for women leaders. A brilliant orator, I was often amazed at her ability to recall incidents, events and present them with utmost clarity and eloquence,” the 91-year-old leader said. Among the others paid their homage to Swaraj at her Jantar Mantar residence were Vice President M Venkiah Naidu, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, BJP working President J P Nadda, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI(M)’s Brinda Karat.
“We had a relationship of a brother and sister and she maintained cordial relations with leaders of other parties. She did a wonderful job as a foreign minister,” said Azad. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, TMC leader Derek O’ Brien, yoga guru Ramdev, BJP leader Hema Malini and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Swaraj’s body was later taken to the BJP headquarters from her residence and then for her final rites at the Lodhi Road crematorium. As the body of the long-time BJP leader was brought to the crematorium from the party office, many jostled for a last glimpse as the casket with her mortal remains, wrapped in the tricolour, was put in the hearse in preparation for her final journey. Others tried to capture images on their mobile phones in the main hall of the BJP headquarters and outside as the van rolled across the street. Neeti Jain, a BJP party worker, said Swaraj was an inspiration to all women who entered politics.
“I got to meet her during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls while we were taking recorded interviews for All India Radio, DD News. I clicked a picture with her and wrote, ‘It was a fangirl moment for me’. My 90-year-old grandfather saw the picture and he told me, ‘I am proud of you today’. Such was her charisma that people from three generations looked up to her,” Jain said. Meena Bhati, a party worker from Uttar Pradesh, echoed Jain. “I had to come to seek her blessings for one last time. We have all heard her speak and there are no words to describe this loss,” Bhati said. Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh said, “She was like a sister to me and an extremely polite woman. Her death is shocking to us. I still can’t believe she’s gone.” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, were among the others who were present at the cremation. Earlier, Rajnath Singh, Nadda, Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and other BJP leaders lent shoulders when the body was carried out of the BJP headquarters.
Husband, daughter salute Sushma before final journey
AS THE nation bid a tearful adieu to BJP stalwart and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri Swaraj paid their obeisance by saluting her as full state honours were accorded to the veteran leader. The teary-eyed father-daughter duo saluted her amidst a swarm of leaders cutting across party ranks and files. People from all walks of life thronged the BJP headquarters in the national capital to get a last glimpse of the stalwart. The 67-year-old was feeling restless at 9 pm and she was brought to the hospital at around 9:30 pm in an ambulance. She was declared dead at 10:50 pm.
Sushma asked Salve to collect Re 1 fee for Jadhav case minutes before attack
SENIOR Advocate Harish Salve on Wednesday expressed shock and sadness on the news of the untimely demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday night. The senior lawyer said that her demise has left a ‘huge void’ in public life. Speaking to media reporters on Wednesday, Harish Salve said, “For me, Sushma Swaraj Ji was an elder sister. I was simply stunned as yesterday at 8:45 pm I had a talk with her. She told me ‘you have to come and take your fees of Re.1 for (Kulbhushan) Jadhav case. Just 10 minutes later, she had a cardiac arrest.” Salve gave credit for India’s success at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said, “It (Kulbhushan Jadhav case) was all her brainchild. There was not a single paper filed in the case which she didn’t see herself. She used to inspect everything and gave valuable suggestions. She used to go personally to the Prime Minister to ensure everything was cleared. The whole credit for the case goes to Prime Minister Modi and Sushma Ji.”The senior lawyer also recounted his time working with her when he was Solicitor General of India during 1999-2002. “I worked with her closely during my time as Solicitor General from 99 to 2002. I used to seek her advice in personal matters as well and she would always be there for me,” said Salve.
Nation lost voice of the people, says Venkaiah as RS pays homage
DESCRIBING former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as an epitome of grace and grit, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that in her untimely demise, the nation has lost an able administrator, an effective parliamentarian and a true voice of the people. The Upper House paid glowing tributes to the senior BJP leader, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 67. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House. When the House met for the day, Chairman Naidu read out an obituary reference on passing away of the senior leader and said she was “grace, grit, affection, amiability and ability personified”.
“In her untimely demise, the nation has lost an able administrator, an effective parliamentarian and a true voice of the people. She always dreamt of an India at its highest glory,” he said. Mourning the demise “as a personal loss”, he expressed hope that the words and deeds of this exemplary leader will continue to inspire all those in public life. “She was like my sister who always addressed me as ‘Anna’ (elder brother). She was a regular at family and cultural events at my residence for a long time. Every year, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, she used to tie ‘Rakhi’ on my hand.
I would be missing this honour this year. I have lost a valuable sister in her demise, which is an irreparable loss to me,” Naidu said. He said Swaraj was a very effective orator with equal felicity in both Hindi and English and left an inerasable imprint both within and outside Parliament. A couple of hours before she breathed her last, her public message after Lok Sabha passed the Bill related to Jammu and Kashmir was: “I was waiting to see this day in my life time,” Naidu noted, adding this clearly demonstrated her commitment for ‘One India- One Constitution’. Naidu said destiny has snatched the popular leader with her “assuring and contagious smile from our midst.”
She was a Member of this House for three terms- from April, 1990 to April, 1996; from April, 2000 to April, 2006; and again from April, 2006 to May, 2009, he said. She was also elected four times to the Lok Sabha in 1996, 1998, 2009 and 2014. She was first elected to the Haryana Legislative Assembly in 1977. As Union Minister, she held the important portfolios of External Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Broadcasting and won acclaim across the political spectrum, Naidu said.
As a legislator and minister in the Union and Haryana Governments and with her commitment and devotion to the cause of the people and the country in her four-decade long stint in public life, Swaraj emerged as a role model, Naidu said. He recalled how as minister of External Affairs, she imparted a human touch to that ministry by being in the forefront of rescuing Indians in distress in several parts of the world. She had come to be known as the most accessible Minister, which speaks of her concern for and commitment to the people, he said. He said Swaraj had several firsts to her credit. She was the youngest minister at the age of 25 years in the Haryana Government in 1977 and was the first woman to be the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha.
She was also the first Woman Outstanding Parliamentarian. Swaraj was the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998. From being the youngest minister, she rose to become the first full time minister of External Affairs. Naidu said that the call of direct service to the people drew her to public life and she participated in the movement led by Jaiprakash Narayan and was elected to the Haryana Legislative Assembly after the Emergency in 1977.