New Delhi: Former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest, senior health ministry officials said.

Swaraj, 67, had been rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi earlier this evening.

The senior BJP leader, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2016, had opted out of contesting in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing ill health.

As an union minister she kept up a punishing schedule travelling overseas to meet her counterparts after her recovery from her surgery.

She was a favourite on Twitter during her term in office responding to calls and messages of distress from Indians all over the world.

Earlier on Tuesday she expressed delight over the passing of key bills pertaining to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the same.

"Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime," Swaraj tweeted at 7:23 pm.

Congress party expressed its condolences over the news.


Swaraj who was the foreign minister from 26 May, 2014 to 30 May, 2019, was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi. She had won from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term in 2014, retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes.

A seven-time Member of Parliament, she also served as MLA for three terms. She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi from 13 October, 1998 to 3 December, 1998.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad at AIIMS (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad at AIIMS (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)

At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sadness at the death of the foreign minister in his first term said her death is a "personal loss".

"A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end. India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service & bettering lives of poor. Sushma Swaraj Ji was one of her kind, who was a source of inspiration for crores of people," Modi was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.

Defence minister Rajnath singh in a Twitter post said Swaraj had risen “ through the ranks to become the External Affairs Minister of India“.

"During her tenure as the Foreign Affairs Minister she introduced a new sensitivity and sensibility in the functioning of the MEA. She was known as the People’s Minister," he said.

Also watch | Remembering Sushma Swaraj: Fiery Opposition leader, people's Foreign Minister



Often described as warm hearted, acceptable to leaders across political parties, Swaraj was a surprise pick for foreign minister in Prime minister Modi’s cabinet after she won a seat as Lok Sabha MP for the seventh time from Vidisha constituency given that she was seen as a loyalist of BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani.

In meetings with her counterparts, apart from plainspeak Swaraj was known to use wit and charm to push India’s cause.

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