Sushma Swaraj also popularly referred to as the “Iron Lady” of BJP passed away due to cardiac arrest on August 6, 2019, after health experts at AIIMS in New Delhi failed to save the ailing politician. Born on February 14, 1952, the ex-External Affairs Minister of India was chosen as the best Union Minister in the cabinet during the first term of Modi Government.
Swaraj made a mark through her speeches on the international geopolitical platform when she represented India at the United Nations General Assembly. Her fiery speeches were well-received and established her as a person with a strong intellect and mind of her own.
The tech-savvy politician won millions of hearts by helping stranded Indians across the globe. Her quick response and action when it came to helping such Indians abroad were always appreciated.
1. Law Graduate From Panjab University
Born to Hardev Sharma and Shrimati Laxmi Devi in Ambala Cantonment in Haryana, Sushma Swaraj first completed her degree in Sanskrit and Political Science and later on studied law at Panjab University, Chandigarh. She won the best NCC cadet award three times in a row.
2. Started Practice As Advocate
Sushmaji started her practice as an advocate in 1973 in the Supreme Court of India. She was a part of the team that defended the Baroda Dynamite case during 1975-1977 which also included her future husband Swaraj Kaushal and George Fernandes.
3. Married Swaraj Kaushal During Emergency
On July 13, 1973, during Emergency Rule, Sushma Swaraj married Swaraj Kaushal. Together they have a daughter. Swaraj Kaushal became a Senior Advocate of Supreme Court at a young age of 34 and has also served as the Governor of Mizoram from February 1990 to February 1993.
4. Entered Politics At Young Age
Swaraj began her political career as the member of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad when she was a student during the 1970s. She organized protests against the government of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Right from the start, she has been associated with many cultural and social bodies and held various positions. She served as the President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Haryana for four years.
5. Start Of Swaraj’s Political Career
Her career started as a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from 1977-82 and from 1987 to 1990. She was an MLA of Janata Party in the government of Devi Lal and served as the Cabinet Minister of Labour and Employment (1977-1979). Swaraj was the youngest cabinet minister at 25.
6. Joined BJP In 1980
In 1980, Sushma Swaraj joined BJP and under the combined Lok Dal-BJP government she served as the Cabinet Minister of Education, Food and Civil Supplies (1987-1990). She was honored as the Best Speaker of Haryana State Assembly for three years in a row.
7. Defeated Thrice In Lok Sabha Elections
Sushmaji contested for the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 1980 and then in 1984 and 1989 from Karnal in Haryana but was defeated all the three times by the leader from Congress Party, Chiranji Lal Sharma.
8. 1990 Was Turning Point
In 1990, Swaraj was elected as the member of the Rajya Sabha which was the start of her political career’s rise to success and eminence. For the first time, she was elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 from South Delhi. During the 13-day Atal Bihar Vajpayee Government, she was the Union Cabinet Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
After getting re-elected to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 she retained her post as the Information and Broadcasting Union Minister in the Vajpayee government and also had an additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications for a few months.
9. Many Firsts In Life Of Swaraj
She was the youngest at the age of 27 to became the State President of Janata Party in 1979. There are many more firsts to her credit. First female Spokesperson of a national political party in the country, BJP’s first female chief minister, leader of the opposition, general secretary, spokesperson, union cabinet minister, and minister of external affairs.
10. Breakthrough Decisions
As the Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting in 1988 Swaraj gave the film fraternity the status of an industry making it eligible for bank finance.
While serving as the Union Health Minister from January 2003 to May 2004 she opened six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Rishikesh, Raipur, and Patna which even today is considered a milestone in the health sector of the country.
She played a key role in pushing the Telangana Bill and even argued with her mentor BJP Leader LK Advani for this. Once she said, “TELANGANA, WHEN YOU THANK SONIA AMMA FOR THE FORMATION OF TELANGANA STATE, DON’T FORGET YOUR CHINAMMA (SUSHMA SWARAJ REFERRING TO HERSELF).”