Sushma Swaraj 68th birth anniversary: Some striking facts about 'People's Minister'
New Delhi, Feb 14: This Valentine's Day, the nation will celebrate 68th birth anniversary of Sushma Swaraj on February 14. BJP stalwart who notched up several firsts in a political career spanning four decades, passed away at the age of 67 after a cardiac arrest on August 6, 2019. She was one of the most prominent faces of the BJP who immensely contributed to party's growth and never shied away from taking challenges.
Famous for being one of the most helpful, tech-savvy ministers of India, Swaraj had restored our faith in bureaucracy and had received applause from all around the world. She was one of the most followed foreign ministers on Twitter globally. She was known for helping Indians stuck abroad as she was quick to respond to their calls for help on Twitter. Swaraj even became popular in Pakistan for her response to people wanting to get visas for medical treatment in India.
Here are some must-know facts about Sushma Swaraj that you probably didn't know:
- Born on February 14 in 1952, Sushma Swaraj's parents hailed from a place called Dharampura in Pakistan's Lahore.
- Swaraj started her into electoral politics with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS' student wing, and later joined the BJP.
- Swaraj was the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996 and got the Cabinet portfolio again after he led the BJP to power in 1998.
- She was only the second woman to hold the portfolio of external affairs after Indira Gandhi, who briefly kept the external affairs ministry under her while being the prime minister.
- Swaraj had many firsts to her credit such as being the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government, first woman chief minister of Delhi and the first woman spokesperson for a national political party in the country.
- Always eager to take on a challenge, Swaraj contested against the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in 1999 Lok Sabha polls. Though she fell short of votes, she grew in stature.
- Long seen as a protege of veteran BJP leader L K Advani, she also was the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.
- Swaraj, a law graduate who practised in the Supreme Court, was elected seven times as a member of Parliament and three times as a member of the legislative assembly.
- Swaraj has also held the portfolios of Telecommunications, Health and Family Welfare, and Parliamentary Affairs in the Union Cabinet. She was married to Swaraj Kaushal, a designated senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India who served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. Kaushal was also a Member of Parliament from 1998 to 2004.
- Swaraj was also the recipient of the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. During her tenure as the external affairs minister, she handled several strategically-sensitive issues, including Indo-Pak and Sino-India relations.
- Her role in resolving the prickly Doklam standoff between the Indian and Chinese sides will be remembered. Though known to be a tough fighter in the political battlefield, Swaraj was admired and respected across party lines.