Sushma always took up challenges: PM

She transformed External Ministry into one that heeds people’s call

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led leaders across party lines and members of his own Council of Ministers on Tuesday in paying homage to former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj who passed away last week.

Terming Swaraj a Minister who transformed the External Affairs Ministry from one bound by protocol to one which heeded the “people’s call,” Mr. Modi was fulsome in his praise for his late colleague. He recalled instances when he and Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu helped persuade her to fight from Bellary in Karnataka against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 1999. “I remember Venkaiah Naidu ji and me going to Sushma ji, and asking her to go to Karnataka to fight elections. The outcome was certain but she was someone who was always ready to take up challenges,” he said.

He also recalled how she persuaded him, in 2014, just before his first address to the UN General Assembly as Prime Minister to stick to a written text, her point being that she felt every forum had a particular form attached to it. “Wherever she went, she transformed the work culture there,” he said.

BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party’s working president J.P. Nadda, and others were present at the meeting.

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