CHANDIGARH: Former external affairs minister and veteran Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest in Delhi. She was 67.
After her demise, grief took over the residents of her home town of Ambala in Haryana. As soon as the news of her demise reached the residents, people from across the town converged outside her native residence.
The public met her family members and extended their support in these difficult times.
Dinesh Aggarwal of Ambala recalled how despite being occupied with the Parliament work, she spoke to him for over twenty minutes when he paid her a visit to Delhi. Born in 1952, she spent a substantial amount of lifetime in Ambala before shifting to the national capital in 1990.
Swaraj at the age of 25 became the youngest cabinet minister in the country as she sworn in the Haryana cabinet of Janata Party Government then led by Chaudhary Devi Lal.
The domestic help Swaraj's native house Gauri, who called her 'Buaji' was inconsolable on Tuesday. She said Swaraj had come a few months back and told her that she should give both her daughters best of education and offered her to help in their education so they have best of facilities for studies.
"She was role model for millions of us," Gauri added.
Swaraj was elected as an MLA from Ambala in 1977 and then became the minister of Labour and Employment in the erstwhile Janata Party Government from 1977 to 1979.
She was also elected twice from 1977 to 82 and then from 1987 to 1990. For three years continuously she was referred to as the best speaker of the state and she served as the president of Janata Party in Haryana for four years.
Meanwhile, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij says Sushma Swaraj had rare qualities.
Swaraj, an advocate by profession, studied law at Panjab University here. DN Jauhar, her then professor at the Law Department of the Panjab University said that he was of the same age as his students and had a deep affinity with most of them.
"I learnt a lot from Sushma as she was inclined towards public life and it took her to glorious heights. She used to be a key participant in all cultural activities at the university," he said.
As per Jauhar, Sushma was an outstanding student, a good orator and a great artiste. "Her husband Swaraj Kaushal was doing LLB as an evening student. They met on the campus, got married in 1975 and settled down in Chandigarh," he added.
Recalling her entry into politics, Jauhar said, "Sushma's entry into politics happened after she came in contact with George Fernandes in 1976 when he was arrested in the so-called Baroda Dynamite case and no one was ready to defend him. She volunteered to fight his case".
After participating in Jayaprakash Narayan's anti-Emergency movement, Sushma became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).