BJP patriarch LK Advani was inconsolable as he paid tributes to his protégé Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday. He was accompanied by his daughter Pratibha Advani. Remembering his ‘closest colleague’, Advani penned a heart-felt letter. Remembering her fondly, Advani said he could not recall a single year when she missed bringing his favourite chocolate cake on his birthday. In a statement, Advani said Swaraj was someone whom he had known and worked with since the beginning of her "illustrious innings" in the Bharatiya Janata Party. She was a promising young activist who he had inducted into his team, he wrote. (India remembers Sushma Swaraj: LIVE UPDATES)
"And over the years, she became one of the most popular and prominent leaders of our party- in fact, a role model for women leaders. A brilliant orator, I was often amazed at her ability to recall incidents, events and present them with utmost clarity and eloquence," the 91-year-old leader said.
#VIDEO Delhi: Senior @BJP4India leader LK Advani and his daughter Pratibha Advani break down as they meet #SushmaSwaraj's husband Swaraj Kaushal and their daughter Bansuri, reports ANI.— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) August 7, 2019
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Swaraj, 67, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday night, was considered one of the closest associates of Advani. He said he was deeply distressed at the untimely demise of one of his closest colleagues.
The nation has lost a remarkable leader, he said, adding that it is an irreparable loss to him. “Sushmaji was also a fine human being. She touched everyone with her warmth and compassionate nature. I do not recall a single year when she missed bringing my favourite chocolate cake to me on my birthday," Advani said.
Just hours earlier on Tuesday, Swaraj tweeted to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Centre's move to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the border state into two Union Territories secured Parliament's approval. "Narendra Modi ji - Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime," she had said.
As external affairs minister, Swaraj brought a sense of assertiveness in India's diplomacy and played a key role in resolving the Doklam standoff with China in 2017. She had also played a key role in India approaching the International Court of Justice challenging a Pakistani military court's death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav. Swaraj was known for prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians She had also played a key role in strengthening BJP across the country in 1990s.
The former Union minister had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons. She is survived by her husband Swaraj Kaushal and daughter Bansuri.