Condolences have poured in for former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj after her tragic death on Tuesday night in Delhi’s AIIMS. Swaraj, according to several reports, had suffered a massive cardiac arrest. All attempts to revive the veteran BJP leader by doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences failed. Noted lawyer Harish Salve, who Swaraj had appointed to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently on death row in Pakistan, at the International Court of Justice, said that he spoke to her barely a few hours before she passed away. Salve told Republic TV that Swaraj had joked about collecting his fee of Rs 1 for fighting Jadhav’s case at the ICJ. He said that he was ‘absolutely stunned’ adding that he had spoken to her on the phone at 8:50 PM on Tuesday night.
Reacting to her passing away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that a ‘glorious chapter in Indian politics’ had come to an end. He wrote, “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 added that Swaraj’s demise was a ‘personal loss’ for him. He wrote, “She will be remembered fondly for everything that she’s done for India. My thoughts are with her family, supporters and admirers in this very unfortunate hour. Om Shanti.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too said that he was 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.’
Former President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted, “Shocked beyond words & distressed at the passing away of Smt #SushmaSwaraj. An astute parliamentarian, an effective orator & an excellent humane leader, she will forever be remembered and missed. Hers was a story of hard work to heights!”
Congress’ Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told reporters that Swaraj always addressed him as a brother while he addressed the late leader as his behen (sister).
प्रधान मंत्री जी – आपका हार्दिक अभिनन्दन. मैं अपने जीवन में इस दिन को देखने की प्रतीक्षा कर रही थी. @narendramodi ji – Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 6, 2019
Swaraj’s mortal remains were taken from the AIIMS to her official residence in Delhi. The late BJP leader had declined to contest this year’s Lok Sabha polls owing to poor health. Hours before she died, she had congratulated PM Modi on the passing of the bill abrogating Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha.