New Delhi, Aug. 6
Former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, 67, known for her oratory skills, passed away late on Tuesday night of a cardiac arrest at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with several top BJP leaders and Union ministers reached AIIMS, where she was brought unconscious around 10.15 pm.
Just a few hours after she congratulated Mr Modi over the government’s decision on Article 370, Ms Swaraj suffered a massive cardiac arrest and was admitted to AIIMS.
She was held in high regard by leaders of all parties, and had friends across the political spectrum. Among the first to condole her death was Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who said he was “deeply saddened to hear of her demise”, hailing her as an “extraordinary leader”, as well as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and others like Shashi Tharoor.
“Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she said in what was to be her last tweet.
In her tenure as external affairs minister, Ms Swaraj had earned widespread praise for swift humanitarian responses to rescue Indian nationals stuck anywhere across the globe, even going to the extent of asking Indian envoys to open embassies on holidays and weekends to issue emergency travel papers.
Under her tenure, she also led the mammoth operations to rescue Indian nationals stuck in West Asia and Africa.
Sources said Ms Swaraj complained of serious chest pain and collapsed at her residence, after which she was rushed to AIIMS. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, defence minister Rajnath Singh and transport minister Nitin Gadkari were among the first party leaders to reach the hospital. Ms Swaraj had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year due to health reasons....