Senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away at 67 at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack in the evening.
Sushma Swaraj was brought to AIIMS at around 10:15 PM and was straight away admitted to the emergency ward. She had a kidney transplant in the year 2016 and had also opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls previously this year for health reasons.
Sushma Swaraj was a significant link between the government and the people. In fact, many political observers viewed Swaraj as a great challenger to PM Narendra Modi in the first couple of months of the government.
Regarded as the top minister during Modi government’s first spell, Sushma Swaraj did not contest this year Lok Sabha elections and also preferred to sit out of the government on account of her health.
Let’s take a look at 15 unknown points about Sushma Swaraj:
1. One of India’s greatest leaders, Sushma Swaraj was born on 14 February 1952. Her birthplace: Ambala Cantt, Haryana. She was born to Hardev Sharma and Shrimati Laxmi Devi.
2. How many of you know that Sushma Swaraj’s parents are from Dharampura area of Lahore, Pakistan? Sushma Swaraj also visited Dharampura during her last trip to Pakistan.
3. Sushma Swaraj’s early education was from Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a bachelor degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science after which, she studied law at Punjab University, Chandigarh.
4. Being a child prodigy in the initial years of her life, she received the title of the best cadet of N.C.C at S.D. College, Ambala Cantt for three years in a row.
5. Known for the knack of delivering killer speeches on stage, she won best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years, held by the Language Department of Haryana.
6. In the early 1970s, she joined Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and from there her political journey kick-started. Sushma Swaraj’s father was also a recognised Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member.
7. It was in 1973 that Sushma Swaraj started her practice as an advocate in the Supreme Court of the country. In fact, she was part of George Fernandes Legal Defense team in Baroda Dynamite case (1975-77) including Swaraj Kaushal.
8. Sushma Swaraj married Swaraj Kaushal on 13, July 1973. Swaraj Kaushal who was assigned as Senior Advocate by Supreme Court of India at the young age of 34. He has also served as Governor of Mizoram (February 1990 to February 1993). Sushma Swaraj was ‘Sushma Sharma’ before her marriage to Swaraj Kaushal.
9. In 1977, Sushma Swaraj became the youngest cabinet minister, at 25, in the Janata Party Govt., chaired by then Chief Minister Devi Lal.
10. In 1979, at just a young age of 27, Sushma Swaraj became State President of Janata Party, Haryana State. She is also the first-ever female Spokesperson of a national political party in the country. Swaraj served as BJP’s first female Chief Minister, General Secretary, Leader of Opposition, Union Cabinet Minister, Spokesperson and Minister of External Affairs.
11. She served as the first female Chief Minister of Delhi for a short period in 1998 (13 October – 3 December).
12. During her stint as Union Health Minister (January 2003 to May 2004), she opened up as many as 6 All India Institute of Medical Sciences, at locations like Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh.
13. She is the first and only female MP till date to be honoured with the ‘Outstanding Parliamentarian Award’. She has been elected 7 times as the member of the parliament, and then three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
14. Sushma Swaraj played a substantial role in passing Telangana Bill which let to the shaping of a separate state Telangana. Swaraj even had to argue with her own mentor Senior BJP Leader LK Advani for this very reason. She had also once said: “TELANGANA, WHEN YOU THANK SONIA AMMA FOR THE FORMATION OF TELANGANA STATE, DON’T FORGET YOUR CHINAMMA (SUSHMA SWARAJ REFERRING TO HERSELF)”
15. She is the second woman to be country’s Minister of External Affairs after Indira Gandhi. She extended her valuable contributions since 26, May 2014, as Minister of External Affairs under PM Narendra Modi led NDA government.