NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart and former Union minister Sushma Swaraj was cremated with full state honours on Wednesday, with political leaders cutting across party lines and foreign dignitaries paying homage to the departed leader.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scores of Union ministers, including Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, paid floral tributes to Swaraj. The mortal remains of the departed leader were brought to the BJP headquarters where the political leaders, including a number of chief ministers, queued up to pay their tribute. BJP chief Shah, working party president JP Nadda and organisational secretary BL Santosh put the party flag on the mortal remains of their departed party colleague.
Modi paid homage at the residence of Swaraj, struggling to hold back tears. He was also seen consoling the bereaved family members of former Union minister.Swaraj was cremated at the Lodhi crematorium with full state honours. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and a phalanx of NDA leaders attended the funeral. Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri performed the last rites.
Party patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, who had groomed Swaraj, was seen emotionally overcome at the sight of the mortal remains of the departed leader. In his condolence message, Advani said, “I am deeply distressed at the untimely demise of one of my closest colleagues, Sushma Swaraj ji. Sushmaji was someone who I knew and worked with since the beginning of her illustrious innings in the Bharatiya Janata Party. When I was BJP president in the eighties, she was a promising young activist who I inducted into my team. She was a role model for women leaders.”
Shah said Swaraj’s untimely death has left a deep void in the party which would be difficult to fill. “As foreign minister, she brought many laurels for the country. She always reached out to Indians in distress abroad. The country will forever be indebted to her,” Shah said.
BJP working president JP Nadda noted that Swaraj worked for the country till her last breath. “She set an ideal example with her simplicity, sensitivity and impactful public life,” Nadda said.
Felt her loss greatly, says Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi: Describing Sushma Swaraj as a great parliamentarian and a woman of “extraordinary gifts”, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said she shared a warm personal relationship with her and felt her loss greatly. Swaraj lost to Gandhi in 1999 from Ballary Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka, an election that drew nationwide attention as it was Sonia’s electoral debut. “We developed a warm personal relationship,” Gandhi said in her letter to Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal. Swaraj made it a point to come to Ballari every year thereafter to celebrate ‘Varamahalakshmi Vrata’ and perform pooja at the residence of noted physician BK Sreenivasa Murthy.
Sushma asked Salve to come and collect Re 1
Mumbai: Barely moments before former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to AIIMS, Delhi, she had a light-hearted conversation with senior lawyer Harish Salve, during which she asked him to “come and collect his fee of Re 1” for representing India at the International Court of Justice in the case involving Kulbhushan Jadhav, an India national on death row in Pakistan. The world court ordered Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav, who was sentenced to death on charges of spying in what New Delhi alleges was a farcical military court hearing. Salve shared the phone conversation he had on Tuesday evening with the former Union minister.