Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday night, will be cremated with full state honours on Wednesday at the Lodhi Road crematorium, ANI reported.
“Her mortal remains will be kept at her residence for people to pay respects,” BJP Working President JP Nadda said. “At 3 pm, she will be taken to Lodhi Road crematorium, where her last rites will be performed with full state honours.” He added that her body will be brought to the BJP headquarters around noon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other leaders paid their tributes to Swaraj on Wednesday at her residence. Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Hema Malini, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also paid their tributes.
The Delhi and Haryana governments announced a two-day state mourning, ANI reported. No cultural events will take place during this time.
Senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani called Swaraj’s death an “irreparable loss”, ANI reported. “The nation has lost a remarkable leader. I will miss Sushmaji’s presence immensely. May her soul rest in peace,” Advani said in a statement. “Sushmaji was someone who I have known and worked with since the beginning of her illustrious innings in the Bharatiya Janata Party. 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,” he added.
Modi said Swaraj “was a source of inspiration for crores of people” while Congress leaders said she would be remembered fondly “as an ever available” minister who helped “tons of people in distress.”
On Wednesday morning, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati paid her respects to the minister at her residence in Delhi, ANI reported. “She was an able politician, administrator and a good orator,” Mayawati said. “Her personality was very friendly, even with members of opposition. I pray to nature to give her family the strength to cope with this loss.”
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi also paid their last respects to the leader on Wednesday morning.
BJP member Rama Devi said: “As long as I’m breathing, I will stay connected with her.”
S Jaishankar, who succeeded Sushma Swaraj as External Affairs Minister, said that “the whole nation grieves, the Foreign Ministry even more so.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Environment Minster Prakash Javadekar, and Union Minister Smriti Irani were among the top leaders who visited All India Institute of Medical Sciences last night to pay their respects.
Swaraj had tweeted hours before her death, to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
She served as the minister of external affairs in the Narendra Modi-led central government from 2014 to 2019. She was also an Union minister between 1977 and 1980 in the Janata Party government, and had served as the minister for information and broadcasting during the term of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government from 2000 to 2003.
Swaraj was a former chief minister of Delhi, and had served as the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014. Last year, Swaraj, who was an MP from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh, said she would not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing health reasons.