NEW DELHI: The passing away of Sushma Swaraj marks the end of the political journey of yet another of the D4 leaders, protegees of L K Advani who called the shots in the BJP after he emerged as the party's main face post-2004.
Former finance minister Arun Jaitley has been keeping out of day-to-day politics for health reasons and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu too is no longer in active politics due to his constitutional position.
Ananth Kumar, another of the quartet, passed away in November last year, and with Swaraj's death on Tuesday, an era has ended.
The leaders were called Delhi-4 or D4 by some in the party as they were mostly based in the national capital and virtually ran the show in the organisation due to their proximity to BJP patriarch Advani.
They were in the thick of action for planning and strategising for 2009 general elections when Advani was prime ministerial candidate, and despite the electoral drubbing, this group of four continued to wield power with Swaraj becoming the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and Jaitley her counterpart in Rajya Sabha.
The Congress-led UPA retained power in 2009, following which the RSS-- ideological mentor of BJP-- decided to look beyond the ageing Advani and his protegees.
The RSS played a key role in making Nitin Gadkari the new BJP chief.
He hailed from Nagpur, where Sangh is headquartered, and was a complete outsider to the national politics.
Though Swaraj and Jaitley became voice of the party in Parliament, but the Sangh appeared to curtail their clout with Gadkari at the helm.
As the party's leader in Lok Sabha, Swaraj was seen by many as successor of Advani and the party's face in the 2014 general election.
The so-called D-4, however, began to lose its grip as the Advani era faded and the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi emerged on the national scene which later led to his anointment as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls.
After Amit Shah's appointment as the BJP president, the centre of power within the party shifted, though the four leaders remained in the party's parliamentary board, its top decision-making body.
All leaders were given cabinet berths in the first Modi government, with Jaitley and Sushma being allotted key portfolios of finance and external affairs respectively.