Sushma Swaraj, former external affairs minister, passed away on August 6 following cardiac arrest. She was a senior politician from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a Member of Parliament. She served as the Chief Minister of Delhi shortly in the year 1998. She had also served as the youngest Cabinet Minister. She was the Union Cabinet Minister for I&B and Ministry of Telecommunications. She chose not to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing ill health. Sushma was the Union External Affairs in the Narendra Modi Government's first tenure. She opted out of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing ill health. On August 6, she died of cardiac arrest at New Delhi's AIIMS at the age of 67.
She was a seven-time Member of Parliament. She was the Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha. She became MLA twice from Haryana during 1977-82 and 1987-1990 and once from Delhi in 1998. In October 1998, she became the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi. She was also the second woman after Indira Gandhi to serve as the Union Minister for External Affairs. In the 2014 general election, she contested and won from the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term by a margin of over 4,00,000 votes. She was born in a middle class family on February 14, 1952, at Ambala cantonment in Haryana. Her parents hailed from Dharampur area of Lahore, Pakistan. Swaraj's parents were Hardev Sharma. Sharma was an eminent member of RSS. Swaraj had an excellent record in extra-curricular activities from her school days. After completing her B.A. with Political Science and Sanskrit as major subjects from S.D. College of Ambala Cantonment, she completed her L.L.B from Department of Laws of the Punjab University at Chandigarh. In 1970, she was awarded the Best Student award by S.D College. Some of her interests in extra-curricular activities include classical music, poetry, fine arts and drama. She also won the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years in a state-level competition held by the language department of Haryana. She also became the best speaker in Hindi of Punjab University and she was awarded the university colour in the A.C. Bali Memorial declamation contest. Swaraj served as the President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan for the State of Haryana for four years. Her first step in Indian politics was as a student leader in 1970 when she organized many protests against the Indira Gandhi government. This led to her introduction to the Janata party members and she joined the party at a very young age and later joined Bharatiya Janata Party. Being an exceptional speaker and organizer, she was actively involved in the campaign against the Emergency. In 1977, Swaraj became the youngest Cabinet minister at the age of 25 after winning the Ambala Cantonment assembly. She was sworn in as Cabinet minister by then Chief Minister Devi Lal. At the age of 27, she became the state president of the Janata Party. Swaraj was again elected from the Ambala seat in 1987 and became the education minister of Haryana state in the Bharatiya Janta Party-Lok Dal coalition government. In 1996, during the 13-day government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she became the Union cabinet minister for Information and Broadcasting and took the revolutionary step of live telecasting the Lok Sabha debates. She was re-elected as a member of the 12th Lok Sabha for the third term and on 13th October 1998, she became the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi after resigning from the Union Cabinet. However, her tenure as the Chief Minister of Delhi didn't last long and after the loss of BJP in the assembly elections, she resigned and joined the national politics. In 1999, BJP nominated Sushma Swaraj against Congress party's president Sonia Gandhi for the Bellary constituency in Karnataka. However, she lost the election by 7% margin. Swaraj was again elected in 2000 as a Rajya Sabha member and from September 2000 to January 2003, she remained the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. From January 2003 to May 2004, she was the Minister of Health and Family Welfare and also Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and held this post until the National Democratic Alliance lost the general elections in 2004. As Union Health Minister, she set up six All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) at Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. Swaraj was re-elected for the third term in Rajya Sabha in 2006 and she served as the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha till April 2009. In the 15th Lok Sabha elections of 2009, she won from the Vidisha Constituency in Madhya Pradesh by a margin of 4,00,000 votes and was elected as a member of the Lok Sabha for the sixth term. In June 2009, she became the Deputy Leader of Opposition and on 21st December 2009, she became the first woman leader of the Opposition replacing Lal Krishna Advani. She retained this position until 2014 elections. In the 2014 elections, after BJP won by a complete majority, Sushma Swaraj was made the External Affairs Minister and she has been serving this position since May 2014 under the Narendra Modi government and is responsible for implementing the foreign policy of Narendra Modi. Swaraj was in controversy as an External Affairs Minister when she issued NOC to Lalit Modi.In 1973, Swaraj started practice as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and she married Swaraj Kaushal, a criminal lawyer and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India on July 13, 1975. In 1990, Swaraj Kaushal became the youngest Governor in the country and from 1990 to 1993, he served as the Governor of Mizoram and from 1998 to 2004, he was a Member of Parliament. The couple had a daughter, Bansuri Kaushal, who is an Oxford University graduate and also a Barrister at Law from the Inner Temple.