Sushma Swaraj replied wittily to a hilarious text, not withholding appreciation of her social media interventions to help Indian expatriates, “Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.” She had touched the heart of everyone, who had approached her, even on social media for help, as in the case of four Pakistani nationals who wanted to undergo medical treatment in India and reached out saying: “After Allah, you are our last hope.”
As the unbelievable news trickled in, hundreds thronged the premier state-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Tuesday 6 August, and Wednesday gathered at her residence for a glimpse of one of the most popular leaders of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Her mortal remains will be consigned to flame, according to Hindu rites, on Wednesday afternoon.
Among the first to pay respect to Ms Swaraj were Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hordes of federal cabinet ministers and party colleagues.
Paying their tributes, President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi lauded the former leader’s contributions to public life.
Extremely shocked to hear of the passing of Smt Sushma Swaraj. The country has lost a much loved leader who epitomised dignity, courage & integrity in public life. Ever willing to help others, she will always be remembered for her service to the people of India #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 6, 2019
An excellent administrator, Sushma Ji set high standards in every Ministry she handled. She played a key role in bettering India’s ties with various nations. As a Minister we also saw her compassionate side, helping fellow Indians who were in distress in any part of the world.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2019
Sushma Swaraj (67) commanded respect from across the political spectrum. Leaders of various political parties poured in to pay respects to her. Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi described her as “an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator and an exceptional Parliamentarian.
I’m shocked to hear about the demise of Sushma Swaraj Ji, an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator & an exceptional Parliamentarian, with friendships across party lines.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 6, 2019
My condolences to her family in this hour of grief.
May her soul rest in peace.
Om Shanti 🙏
Several world leaders and New Delhi’s diplomatic community also paid homage to the departed leader.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, paying tribute to Swaraj said: “Throughout her long and inspired service to the Indian people, she brought wit, warmth and strength in her many distinguished roles.”
Saddened to learn of @SushmaSwaraj’s passing. Throughout her long and inspired service to the Indian people, she brought wit, warmth and strength in her many distinguished roles. Respected by all, she will be deeply missed and forever admired. pic.twitter.com/nNqT4rFNfL— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) August 6, 2019
President of UN General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés said Ms Swaraj was “an extraordinary woman and leader who devoted her life to public service.”
Saddened by the news of the passing of @SushmaSwaraj, an extraordinary woman & leader who devoted her life to public service. I had the honor of meeting her in my visits to #India, & will always remember her fondly. My deepest condolences to all of her loved ones @IndiaUNNewYork— UN GA President (@UN_PGA) August 6, 2019
Expressing my profound condolences to Prime Minister @narendramodi on the sad demise of honourable Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj. She represented India with immense dignity and grace. HK pic.twitter.com/YzzUYLvYOO— Hamid Karzai (@KarzaiH) August 6, 2019
Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev, paying tribute to Sushma Swaraj said, “She was well-known in Russia as a steadfast defender and promoter of the international interests of India and its reputation as a global power. Kudashev said, she will always dwell in our hearts and memories.
Sushma Swaraj had been in ill-health for some time and had undergone a kidney transplant in December 2016. Since that time she has restricted public engagements. During the 2019 general elections to the lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, she had opted out of electoral politics.