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Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2019

Meet me on Wednesday to collect your fee of Re1: Sushma to Harish Salve

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SUSHMASWARAJ1NEW DELHI: Less than an hour before she was rushed to Delhi’s AIIMS in a critical condition, former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had asked Harish Salve, the lawyer who represented India at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case pertaining to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to meet her on Wednesday to collect his fee of Re 1.
Recalling his “emotional conversation” with Swaraj, the former solicitor general told a news channel: “I spoke to her at 8:50 pm. It was a very emotional conversation…. She said, ‘you have to come and meet me. I have to give you your one rupee for the case which you won’. I said, ‘of course, I have to come collect that precious fee’. She said, ‘come and meet me tomorrow at 6 o’clock’,” Salve said.

Swaraj, former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader, passed away on Tuesday night. She was 67. The senior BJP leader was brought to AIIMS around 9:30pm and was straight away taken to the emergency ward. AIIMS doctors said she died of a cardiac arrest.
Last month, the International Court of Justice for Pakistan to grant former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav consular access, a right he had been denied so far. It also stated that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention by doing so, and directed it to review the death sentence ordered by a military court at a closed trial. Swaraj had welcomed the International Court of Justice’s verdict, calling it “a great victory” for India.
Hours before her death, Sushma had tweeted her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the Lok Sabha passed proposals related to scrapping Jammu and Kashmir’s special powers and splitting the state into two Union Territories.
“Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she tweeted at 7.23pm.

Sushma had undergone a kidney transplant at AIIMS in 2016, when she was foreign minister in the first Modi government.She had voluntarily opted out of contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on health grounds. Sushma vacated her official residence recently and shifted to an apartment in central Delhi.
There had been speculation that she could be elected to the Rajya Sabha or be made a governor.
Sushma, who entered politics in the mid-70s, was the first prominent woman leader of the BJP. A powerful orator who was fluent in both Hindi and English. As Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the UPA tenure, Sushma had made a mark for herself.

Sushma was known to be extremely close to party patriarch L.K. Advani. The talk about the possibility of Sushma becoming Prime Minister faded away after Narendra Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, emerged as the front-runner for the post.

Sushma, who had unsuccessfully taken on Sonia Gandhi in Karnataka’s Bellary in 1999, had been a shining leader among the second generation promoted by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani.

As foreign minister, Sushma had been one of the most-followed politicians on social media. She had won the hearts of many distressed people by responding to their calls for help on social media almost round the clock.There was an outpouring of grief at Sushma’s passing.
In a series of tweets, Modi called Sushma a “prolific orator and outstanding Parliamentarian” who was “admired and revered across party lines”. The Prime Minister said her death was a “personal loss” for him, lauding her “tireless” work as foreign minister, even when she was ill.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “I’m shocked to hear about the demise of Sushma Swaraj Ji, an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator & an exceptional Parliamentarian, with friendships across party lines….”
Ms Swaraj will be cremated with state honours this afternoon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned emotional this morning as he paid homage to Ms Swaraj, easily one of India’s most-admired political leaders.
Ms Swaraj’s body will be kept at the BJP office from noon to 3 pm. After this, the body will be taken to the Lodhi Road crematorium for the last rites. PM Modi is expected to attend her funeral, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Political leaders across party lines as well as people on social media expressed shock and grief at her sudden death. President Ram Nath Kovind visited Ms Swaraj’s home in central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar Road to pay his last respects. He interacted with her husband Swaraj Kaushal and other family members. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Home Minister Amit Shah also paid tribute.

Sonia Gandhi of the Congress was seen hugging Ms Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri. Her son Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too visited Ms Swaraj’s home. BJP veteran LK Advani and his daughter Pratibha, who have had a long association with Ms Swaraj, were seen in tears.
Mr Advani, 91, said “Sushmaji was someone who I have known and worked with since the beginning of her illustrious innings in the BJP. When I was the president of the BJP in the 1980s, she was a promising young activist who I had inducted into my team”, Mr Advani said.
Among other VIPs who visited Ms Swaraj’s home was former UP CM and BSP chief Mayawati, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, BJP lawmaker Hema Malini and yoga guru Ramdev.

Just after emergency In 1977, Sushma Swaraj became the youngest minister of a state, Haryana, back in 1977. Ms Swaraj was one of the most senior woman leader of the BJP. Ms Swaraj leaves a legacy of an easily-accessible politician who helped the Indians abroad in distress with her quick response on Twitter to requests for help when she was the foreign minister. Even banal or joking requests drew a response from Sushma Swaraj.
Senior party leader Arun Jaitley said he was pained and broken at her demise and described her as one of the most outstanding politicians in the present era. Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal said  India has lost a great leader. Sushma ji was a very warm and remarkable person. May her soul rest in peace. (With Inputs from Agencies).

 

 

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