Former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away after suffering a heart attack in New Delhi.
Ms. Swaraj, 67, had a long career in politics known for her skilled oratory and had been, at 25 years, the youngest-ever Cabinet Minister in the Haryana government led by the late Devi Lal. A lawyer by training, Ms. Swaraj was part of the legal team put together by the Opposition when socialist leader George Fernandes was arrested around the Emergency. Since she and Swaraj Kaushal, who was also involved with the Socialists, were part of the legal team and had to travel to Mumbai together, their law professor and later Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand suggested that they get married, a story later recounted by her with much relish.
Sushma Swaraj was a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi and the first woman Chief Minister from the BJP. Picture shows Swaraj taking oath as Delhi Chief Minister on October 13, 1998.
Sushma Swaraj pays floral tributes at the samadhi of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal in New Delhi on April 6, 2014. At 25, Swaraj became the youngest-ever Cabinet Minister in 1977 in the Haryana government led by Devi Lal.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Lok Sabha on August 27, 2011. She was India’s first woman Leader of the Opposition.
President Pranab Mukherjee greets Sushma Swaraj after administering her the oath at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in on May 26, 2014. Swaraj was India’s first full-time woman External Affairs Minister.
Sushma Swaraj assumes charge as the Minister of External Affairs on May 28, 2014. During her tenure at the Ministry, Swaraj was known for her prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians.
She was variously Information and Broadcasting, Parliamentary Affairs and Health Minister in the Vajpayee government and also served as Delhi Chief Minister in 1998, a position she lost to Sheila Dikshit who also passed away recently. She was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009 and 14.
Ill health (she had a kidney transplant a couple of years ago) made her opt out of electoral politics, and later also from the new Cabinet formed by Mr. Modi in his second term. Her death has brought to a close an important chapter in Indian politics.