Former External Affairs Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj died in New Delhi on August 6, following a cardiac arrest. She was 67.
Swaraj had served as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha and the Haryana Legislative Assembly. She was even chief minister of Delhi for a short while in 1998.
While Swaraj delivered many key speeches during her career, including a few at the United Nations.
One particular speech that has resurfaced after her death is a Lok Sabha address from 1996. BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign merely 13 days after he became the prime minister, and Swaraj’s speech from June 11, 1996, is a scathing attack on Vajpayee’s and BJP’s opponents.
Swaraj drew analogies from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, equating Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Lord Ram and King Yudhishthir. “Don’t make your speech so interesting,” the Speaker told Swaraj after the comparisons caused an uproar in the House.
“Our opponents accuse us of being communal,” Swaraj said. “Yes, we are communal because we advocate that people sing our national song Vande Matram, we fight for the honour of the tricolour, we demand Article 370 of the Constitution be revoked, we talk of implementing a uniform civil code, and we give a voice to the pain of Kashmiri refugees. We are communal because we are not ashamed of being Hindus.”
In her last tweet that was sent out on August 6, Swaraj thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for scrapping the special status for Jammu & Kashmir.