Sushma Swaraj, the former External Affairs Minister who won millions of admirers around the world and touched the hearts of people with her kindness and prompt action during her tenure as Foreign Minister is no more. She suffered a massive cardiac arrest late night on Tuesday before taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Sushma's last tweet on passing of key bills on Jammu and Kashmir in Lok Sabha will describe her love for country, she said, “Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime.”
Born on February 14, 1952, at Ambala Cantonment, Sushma earned a B.A. degree in political science. She studied LLB. at Panjab University, Chandigarh. She married to Swaraj Kaushal, a former Mizoram Governor on July 13, 1975, during the time of emergency.
An advocate by profession, she began her political career as a student leader in the 1970s, organizing protests against Indira Gandhi's government. She was associated with many social and cultural bodies in various capacities. She was the President of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Haryana for four years.
She twice became MLA from Haryana during 1977-1982 and 1987-1990, and once from Delhi in 1998.
Youngest Cabinet Minister In the Country
As a Janata Party MLA in Devi Lal's government, she was the Cabinet Minister of Labour and Employment (1977-1979) – becoming the youngest ever Cabinet Minister in the country at 25 years of age.
She joined the BJP in 1980. Under Lok Dal-BJP government led by Devi Lal, she was the Cabinet Minister of Education, Food and Civil Supplies (1987-1990). She was judged Best Speaker of Haryana State Assembly for three consecutive years.
She was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1990. In 1996, she was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from South Delhi constituency. She was Union Cabinet Minister of Information and Broadcasting in 1996, during the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. She was re-elected to the 12th Lok Sabha for a second term in 1998 from the same constituency.
Under the second Vajpayee government, she retained the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and had an additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications from March 19 to October 12, 1998.
First Woman Chief Minister of Delhi
Sushma Swaraj left the Union Cabinet from October-December 1998 to serve as the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the subsequent assembly elections and then she returned to national politics once again.
She returned to Parliament in April 2000 as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand. She was re-inducted into the cabinet as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, which she held from September 2000 until January 2003.
She was also made the Minister of Health and Family Welfare and held the post of Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. She was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 2006 from Madhya Pradesh. She served as the deputy leader of BJP in Rajya Saba.
First Woman Leader of the Opposition
In 2009, Sushma Swaraj won the election to the 15th Lok Sabha from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh by a record margin of 3.89 lakh votes. She was made Deputy Leader of the Opposition in June 2009 in the Lok Sabha, and in December that year, Sushma became the first woman Leader of the Opposition when she replaced BJP's stalwart LK Advani.
Sushma Swaraj again contested and won the election to the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014 from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. She became External Affairs Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet. The only second woman to hold this position after Indira Gandhi.
She did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing poor health conditions.