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Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj: the ‘People’s Minister’ and BJP stalwart

August 7, 2019

Sushma Swaraj was an Indian politician, a senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a Supreme Court lawyer. She served as the Minister of External Affairs of India from 26 May 2014, under the first Narendra Modi government (2014 – 2019). She was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi.

Born on 14th February 1953 at Ambala Cantt, Haryana, she was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science. She further studied law at Panjab University, Chandigarh.

She began her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s. Later, in 1975, Sushma Swaraj became a part of George Fernandes’s legal defense team. She participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution Movement but after ‘The Emergency’, she went on to join the BJP. She later became a national leader of the party.

She was elected seven times as a Member of Parliament (MP) and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. She also became the youngest cabinet minister of the Indian state of Haryana at the age of 25 in 1977.

She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi for a brief term in 1998. Under the second PM Vajpayee government, she was sworn in as Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting with the additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications from March to October 1998. She was part of the Union Cabinet as Minister for Information and Broadcasting from September 2000 to January 2003. She was Minister of Health, Family Welfare, and Parliamentary Affairs from January 2003 until May 2004.

Swaraj is the Indian Parliament’s first and the only female MP honoured with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award.

In 2019, she decided not to contest the Indian general election due to health reasons. She was recovering a kidney transplant, therefore, hence did not join the Modi Ministry this year. She passed away on 6th August, at the age of 67, due to heart attack.

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