Sushma Suraj was among the top ministers in Prime Minister Modi's cabinet during his first term.
Sushma Suraj, a former foreign minister and senior BJP leader admired by political lines, died Tuesday night after a cardiac arrest. She will be cremated with state honors in Delhi this afternoon. "A glorious chapter in Indian politics is coming to an end," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who became emotional while visiting her home this morning and talking with her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri. In tweets, the prime minister described her death as a "personal loss" and wrote: "India is mourning the death of a remarkable leader who has dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of the poor."
67-year-old Sushma Suraj was unwell and refused to contest the election earlier this year.
She was taken around 9:00 pm to the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, where several BJP executives and ministers gathered after the news began to sneak by.
Former Supreme Court lawyer Sushma Suraj was among the top ministers in Prime Minister Modi's cabinet in his first term, which ended in May.
Three years ago, they made her a kidney transplant and have since drastically reduced her social engagements.
Hours before her death, Ms Swaraj in her latest tweet congratulated Prime Minister Modi on the move to Jammu and Kashmir's special status and the reorganization of the state into two territorial unions.
"Thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I have been waiting to see this day in my life," she tweeted.
, @narendramodi ji – Thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see that day in my life.
– Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 6, 2019
One of her party colleagues, Ravi Shankar Prasad, described her as her mentor and said emotionally: "She was happy with the cancellation of Article 370, I read her tweet when I got home … and then I heard … I feel overwhelmed. I can't describe my grief … "
As Foreign Minister, Ms Swaraj has won praise for responding to SOS messages from Indians around the world; her interventions ranged from seeking information about relatives stuck in avalanches in other countries, to helping families bring a relative's body home. An active social media user, she often replied on Twitter to people seeking help or just turning to her and used her wit to deal with even fanciful messages.
Her kindness, warmth, and soft humor touched many and Twitter was flooded with messages of thanks and good wishes when it became clear that she would not be part of Prime Minister Modi's government in her second term.
Long before she became a favorite on social media, Ms Swaraj gained widespread popularity for her speech in Parliament and beyond.
"Sushma Ji was a prolific speaker and outstanding parliamentarian. She was admired and honored by party lines, "Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee described her as "a shrewd parliamentarian, an effective speaker and an excellent human leader." "Her story was hard work up to the height," his tweet said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also mourned her death.
I am shocked to hear of the death of Sushma Swaraj Ji, an exceptional political leader, a talented speaker and an exceptional parliamentarian, with friendships in party lines.
My condolences to her family at this hour of grief.
May her soul rest in peace.
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 6, 2019
We are sad to hear about the untimely demise of Smt Sushma Swaraj. Our condolences to her family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/T9wg739c8i
– Congress (@INCIndia) August 6, 2019
Nine-time MP, Ms Swaraj became the youngest Minister of State of Haryana in 1977.
She began her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a BJP-affiliated student body in the 1970s.
In 1996, Mrs. Swaraj in the box against Sonia Gandhi at Bellary in Karnataka at the last moment. She came in all over, speaking Canada freely during her rallies.
Her vow to shave her head if Italy-born Sonya Gandhi became prime minister when Congress won the 2004 election would be a landmark milestone in her political career.
After the death of the party's senior leader Pramod Mahajan in 2006, Ms Swaraj emerges as the most prominent figure among BJP's Next CEO After Atal Behari Waipaye and LK Adwani.
It grew after the BJP, contesting the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 under the leadership of LK Advani, failed to displace the Congress-led UPA government from the center. Mr Advani, who was 81 at the time, had to give up Ms Swaraj's position as the opposition leader in the Lok Sabha.
Sushma Swaraj was also the Chief Minister of Delhi and later held a portfolio of information and broadcast as well as health in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpaye.
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