The first thought that strikes the mind of Karnataka people when they think about Sushma Swaraj, will definitely be her speech at the election rally in Bellary in August 1999.
Sushma Swaraj was fielded from Bellary by the BJP against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. Though Sushma lost the battle, her fiery speech at Bellary was what propelled her as a prominent leader of the BJP.
Her four-minute speech received thunderous applause from the capacity crowd that gathered at the rally. Even former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was at the rally was taken aback by Sushma Swaraj's fluency in Kannada.
The two-decade-old video was shared by Sushma Swaraj in January 2018, after one of her Twitter followers tweeted to her asking her to learn South Indian languages.
"From Sushma ji n all those for Hindi…come learn the South Indians languages..they are beautiful, " tweeted Mushahid Khan (unverified account).
Following which Sushma Swaraj tweeted out the video and wrote a message that said she was proud of all Indian languages.
Sushma Swaraj tweet reads: "I am proud of all Indian languages. I speak some of them fluently."
Her connection with Bellary did not stop after the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, as Sushma used to visit Bellary every year for the Varamahalakshmi festival. This continued for about 11 years.
The festival would be celebrated in the house of B K Srinivas Murthy. And following the puja, they would then proceed to the mass marriage organized by her ‘adopted son’ Sriramulu of BJP where she would be the chief guest.
She stopped visiting Ballari after 2011 when the iron ore scam allegations against Janardhana Reddy started surfacing.
Senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj passed away at AIIMS Delhi on Tuesday night. The BJP veteran, who suffered a massive heart attack, died at the age of 67.
(With inputs from ENS)