NEW DELHI, Aug 13: Paying rich tributes to his onetime ministerial colleague and party compatriot Late Sushma Swaraj, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday recalled the deceased leader’s multifaceted personality and said she ‘never hesitated’ to speak her mind.
“We are used to people saying politically correct things but Sushma Ji was different. She did not hesitate to speak her mind and she spoke with firmness. This was special about her,” Mr Modi said
at a Shradanjali Programme organised by Delhi unit of BJP.
At the function attended by union ministers, BJP chief Amit Shah and parliamentarians from other parties, the Prime Minister said the former Minister was an ‘inspiration’ and lauded the manner she vacated the official ministerial bungalow as soon as the election process was over.
The function was also attended by the deceased leader’s husband and former Mizoram Governor Swaraj Kaushal and her daughter Bansuri.
In an emotive speech, Ms Bansuri said her mother (Late Swaraj) was her “best friend”.
Prime Minister also said that Ms Bansuri has enough glimpses of her mother and at the time of her mother’s death, “Bansuri did stand strong and also rendered the much needed emotional support to her father (Swaraj Kaushal)”.
Mr Modi also said Late Swaraj was highly successful in bringing major transition in the approach of the Ministry of External Affairs and it has transformed from ‘protocol’ to an institute that would respond to “people’s call”.
“She was younger to me, but in public life I had lot to learn from her,” Mr Modi said.
“One would conventionally associate the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) with protocol but Sushma Ji went a step ahead and answered the people’s call, making the Ministry people friendly,” Prime Minister said.
“The number of passport offices rose significantly during the tenure of Sushma Ji. This shows how much she cared about the people,” he said.
Mr Modi said in any ministerial duty she held, Sushma Ji brought about a marked change in the work culture there.
Mr Modi, who has seen Sushma Swaraj from close range both in the government since 2014 and in the party rank and file, said the “Krishna Bhakti was integral to Sushma Ji”.
“She would always abide by the ideals and teachings of Bhagwan Shri Krishna,” he said.
Former External Affairs Minister Late Swaraj expired on August 6 after a massive heart attack.
A good orator and a seasoned parliamentarian, she had undergone kidney transplantation sometime back and did not contest the Lok Sabha elections on health ground only.
Lauding her oratory and debating skills in Parliament and as a powerful political campaigner outside, Mr Modi said – “The speeches of Sushma Ji were both Prabhavi and Prerak (could influence one and also inspire)”.
“She will remain an inspiration for several people,” Prime Minister said.
Recalling past anecdotes and some memories, Prime Minister said in 1999, while it was a foregone conclusion that Congress president Sonia Gandhi would easily win Bellary, Late Swaraj did not hesitate to take Ms Gandhi head on when the BJP leadership decided about the same.
“I remember Venkaiah Naiduji and me going to Sushmaji and asking her to go to Karnataka to fight elections. The outcome was certain but she was someone who was always ready to take up challenges,” Prime Minister said.
“Today, various people have shared their thoughts about Sushma Ji. She was a multifaceted personality and we, Karyakartas of the BJP have seen very closely what a great personality she was,” Mr Modi said.
Speaking on the occasion BJP chief Amit Shah also acknowledged the fact that the vacuum created by Sushma’s death cannot be fulfilled by anyone soon.
“A vigilant lawmaker and she always raised people’s voice in Parliament. Sushmaji’s voice will always reverberate in our Parliament,” Mr Shah said.
BJP Working President J P Nadda said while Late Swaraj had the essential ‘sharpness’ of a political activist while debating, but she would never deviate from the boundaries of parliamentary decorum.
Among others Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, Pinaki Mishra of BJD, LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, BSP’s Satish Mishra, JD (U) leader
Rajiv Ranjan Singh of JD (U), Tiruchi Shiva of DMK and representatives from AIADMK, TRS leader and Shiv Sena also spoke. (UNI)