BJP’s Sushma Swaraj passes away at 67

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Former Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday, according to reports by Indian media.

According to India Today, the 67-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader passed away “after suffering a heart attack in the evening”. She was hospitalised at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

Swaraj was rushed in to AIIMS between 9:30pm and 10pm (India time) on Tuesday and was “straight away taken to the emergency ward” reported News 18, quoting Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawan. “She died a little while later,” it added.

Swaraj, who had suffered from chronic diabetes, had also been admitted to AIIMS in 2016 when she suffered kidney failure.

The then senior most BJP woman leader, Swaraj became India’s external affairs minister in 2014. She did not participate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections owing to health concerns, India Today reported, describing her as a “star minister” during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term.

Swaraj had held office as Union minister between 1977 and 1980 in the Janata Party government, according to Scroll.in.

From 2000-2003 she was the minister for information and broadcasting, when the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government was in power.

During her decades-long career she had also served as New Delhi’s chief minister and had served as the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014, Scroll.in reported.

The BJP leader, during her time in the external affairs ministry, granted visas to several individuals seeking medical treatment in India.

In 2017, an Egyptian believed to be the world’s heaviest woman, was granted a visa for weight reduction surgery.

That same year, an ailing two-and-a-half-year-old Pakistani boy and his parents were allowed to travel to India for treatment after the boy’s father reached out to Swaraj on Twitter for a medical visa as his son had a heart complication which could not be treated in Pakistan.

The tweet was acknowledged by Swaraj, holding out the assurance that the child “will not suffer”.