Swaraj, a senior BJP leader, died on August 6 following a cardiac arrest.
“Sushmaji had many sides to her — political, social, personal. We worked together as companions for many years in the party and have many shared experiences. Whatever our assigned role, whatever work we received from the party — we put our all into that work. Even after having reached our respective goals, we continued to work tenaciously. Sushmaji was a model BJP worker and the best tribute you can pay her is to emulate her,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the gathering at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP working president J P Nadda and senior leaders from various parties attended the event, apart from hundreds of BJP workers. The international community, including officials from high commissions and embassies, and Hindu priests and leaders of the RSS and VHP were also present.
Modi said he learnt many things from Swaraj and that she guided him in writing the first speech that he delivered in the UN. He added that Swaraj had backed the government’s move on Article 370 vigorously.
Modi added that in 70 years India got 77 passport offices, but in the five years of Swaraj’s stint as foreign minister, the number grew to 505. “Look at the scale of work that was achieved,” he said.
While leaders from DMK, TRS, AIADMK, RJD, TMC, LJP, JDU, and other parties paid tribute, it was Congress’s Anand Sharma who paid her the longest tribute after the PM. “…She had a tall personality, a large heart and lofty ideals. No matter how bitter and belligerent the debate between us would get within Parliament, this would never spill over into our personal relationship,” said Sharma. Shah said that Swaraj had connected the MEA to not only governments and people around the world but to citizens of India.
The Union Cabinet met on Tuesday and adopted a resolution condoling her death.