- Sushma Swaraj died on Tuesday evening after a cardiac arrest
- She will be cremated with state honors this afternoon
- Political leaders across party lines expressed shock at her sudden death
Sushma Swaraj, former foreign minister and BJP veteran, died on Tuesday evening after a cardiac arrest, leaving political leaders and her legions of admirers in grief. She was 67. Ms Swaraj will be cremated with state honours this afternoon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned emotional this morning as he paid homage to Ms Swaraj, easily one of India’s most-admired political leaders.
Her body will be kept at the BJP headquarters for three hours this afternoon for party workers and leaders to pay tributes.
Ms Swaraj died at Delhi’s All India Institute Of Medical Sciences hospital where she was taken at around 9 pm on Tuesday.
Political leaders across party lines as well as people on social media expressed shock and grief at her sudden death. President Ram Nath Kovind visited Ms Swaraj’s home at central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar Road to pay his tribute. He interacted with her husband Swaraj Kaushal and other family members. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah too paid his last respects.
Sonia Gandhi of the Congress was seen hugging Ms Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri. Her son Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too visited Ms Swaraj’s home.
BJP veteran LK Advani and his daughter Pratibha, who have had a long association with Ms Swaraj, were seen in tears.
Mr Advani, 91, said in his tribute he could not recall a single year when she missed bringing his favourite chocolate cake on his birthday. “Sushmaji was someone who I have known and worked with since the beginning of her illustrious innings in the Bharatiya Janata Party. When I was the president of the BJP in the 1980s, she was a promising young activist who I had inducted into my team”, Mr Advani said.
Ms Swaraj’s body will be kept at the BJP office from noon to 3 pm. After this, the body will be taken to the Lodhi Road crematorium for the last rites. PM Modi is expected to attend her funeral, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Among other VIPs who visited Ms Swaraj’s home was former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP chief Mayawati, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, BJP lawmaker Hema Malini and yoga guru Ramdev.