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Sushma Swaraj

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Sushma Swaraj
Sushma Swaraj in 2014.jpg
Sushma Swaraj in October 2014
Minister of External Affairs
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Salman Khurshid
Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs
In office
26 May 2014 – 7 January 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Vayalar Ravi
Succeeded by position disestablished; merged with MEA
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
In office
21 December 2009 – 26 May 2014
Preceded by L. K. Advani
Succeeded by Vacant
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
In office
29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Pramod Mahajan
Succeeded by Ghulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Health and Family Welfare
In office
29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by C. P. Thakur
Succeeded by Anbumani Ramadoss
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
In office
30 September 2000 – 29 January 2003
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Arun Jaitley
Succeeded by Ravi Shankar Prasad
Chief Minister of Delhi
In office
13 October 1998 – 3 December 1998
Governor Vijai Kapoor
Preceded by Sahib Singh Verma
Succeeded by Sheila Dikshit
Member of Parliament
from Vidisha
Assumed office
13 May 2009
Preceded by Rampal Singh
Personal details
Born (1952-02-14) 14 February 1952 (age 64)
Ambala Cantt, Haryana, India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Swaraj Kaushal
Alma mater Panjab University, Chandigarh
Religion Hinduism

Sushma Swaraj About this sound pronunciation  (born 14 February 1952[1]) is an Indian politician, former Supreme Court lawyer and the current Minister of External Affairs of India, in office since 26 May 2014. A leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Swaraj is the second woman to be India's Minister of External Affairs, after Indira Gandhi. She has been elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of north Indian state of Haryana. She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi for a brief term in 1998.[2]

In the 2014 Indian general election, she won the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term, retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes.[3] She became the External Affairs Minister in the union cabinet on 26 May 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Sushma Swaraj (née Sushma Sharma)[4] was born at Ambala Cantt, Haryana[5] on 14 February 1952 to Hardev Sharma & Shrimati Laxmi Devi.[6][7] Her father was a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member. Her parents hailed from Dharampura area of Lahore, Pakistan.[8] She was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a bachelor's degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science.[9] She studied law at Punjab University, Chandigarh.[1][9][10] A state-level competition held by the Language Department of Haryana saw her winning the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.[6]


In 1973, Swaraj started practise as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India.[1][9]

Early political career[edit]

Swaraj began her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1970s. Her husband, Swaraj Kaushal, was closely associated with the socialist leader George Fernandes and Sushma Swaraj became a part of George Fernandes's legal defence team in 1975. She actively participated in Jayaprakash Narayan's Total Revolution Movement. After the Emergency, she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Later, she became a national leader of the BJP.[11]

State-level politics[edit]

She was a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from 1977 to 1982, acquiring the Ambala Cantonment assembly seat at the age of 25, and then again from 1987 to 1990.[12] In July 1977, she was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister in the Janata Party Government headed by then Chief Minister Devi Lal. She became State President of Janata Party (Haryana) in 1979, at the age of 27 years. She was Education Minister of Haryana state in the Bharatiya Janata PartyLok Dal coalition government during the period of 1987 to 1990.[9]

Chief Minister of Delhi[edit]

After a tenure in national level politics, in October 1998 she resigned from the Union Cabinet to take over as the first female Chief Minister of Delhi. However, the BJP had lost the Assembly elections because of rising prices and inflation.[citation needed] She resigned from her Assembly seat and returned to national politics.

National-level politics[edit]

In April 1990, she was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha and remained there until she was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from South Delhi constituency in 1996.

Swaraj was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from South Delhi constituency in April 1996 elections. She was Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting during the 13-day government of PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996.[citation needed]

Union Minister I&B & Telecommunications[edit]

She was re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha from South Delhi Parliamentary constituency for a second term in March 1998. Under the second PM Vajpayee Government, she was sworn in as Union Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting with additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications from 19 March 1998 to 12 October 1998. Her most notable decision during this period was to declare film production as an industry, which made the Indian film industry eligible for bank finance. Prior to this, the film industry was heavily financed by the underworld on high rate of interest. This one decision liberated film industry from the clutches of the underworld.[citation needed] She also started community radio at universities and other institutions.[citation needed]

In September 1999, BJP nominated Swaraj to contest against the Congress party's national President Sonia Gandhi in the 13th Lok Sabha election, from the Bellary constituency in Karnataka, which had always been retained by Congress politicians since the first Indian general election in 1951–52. During her campaign, she addressed public meetings in the local Kannada language. She secured 358,000 votes in just 12 days of her election campaign. However, she lost the election by a 7% margin.[13]

Minister for Information and Broadcasting[edit]

She returned to Parliament in April 2000 as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh. She was reallocated to Uttrakhand when the new state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000.[14] She was inducted into the Union Cabinet as Minister for Information and Broadcasting, a position she held from September 2000 until January 2003.[citation needed]

Union Health Minister[edit]

She was Minister of Health, Family Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs from January 2003 until May 2004, when the National Democratic Alliance Government lost the general election. As Union Health Minister, she set up six AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) at Bhopal (MP), Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rishikesh (Uttrakhand).[citation needed]

Swaraj was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha for third term in April 2006 from Madhya Pradesh state. She served as the Deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha till April 2009.

Leader of Opposition, 15th Lok Sabha[edit]

She won the 2009 election for the 15th Lok Sabha from the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh by the highest margin of over 400,000 votes. Sushma Swaraj became Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha in place of Lal Krishna Advani on 21 December 2009 and retained this position till May 2014 when in Indian general election, 2014 her party got a major victory.[15][16][17][18]

External Affairs Minister[edit]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greeting Swaraj in the Indian style


Swaraj has been serving as the Indian External Affairs Minister under Prime Minister Narendra Modi since May 2014, responsible for implementing the foreign policy of Narendra Modi. She is only the second woman to hold this position after Indira Gandhi.[19][20]

Distinctions and records[edit]

In 1977, she became the youngest ever Cabinet Minister in the country at 25 years of age.[citation needed] In 1979, she became State President of Janata Party, Haryana State at the young age of 27. Sushma Swaraj was the first female Spokesperson of a national political party in India. She has many firsts to her credit as BJPs first female Chief Minister, Union Cabinet Minister, General Secretary, Spokesperson, Leader of Opposition and Minister of External Affairs.[citation needed] She is the Indian Parliament's first and the only female MP honoured with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. She has contested 11 direct elections from four states. She has served as the President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Haryana for four years.[6]

Personal life[edit]

During the times of Emergency, on July 13, 1973, Sushma Swaraj married Swaraj Kaushal, a peer and fellow advocate at the Supreme Court of India.[21] The Emergency movement brought together the couple, who then teamed up for the defense of the socialist leader George Fernandes.[21]

Swaraj Kaushal is now a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer who served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. He was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2004.[citation needed]

The couple have a daughter, Bansuri, who is a graduate from Oxford University and a Barrister at Law from Inner Temple.[22][23]

Sushma Swaraj's sister Vandana Sharma is an associate professor of political science in a government college for girls in Haryana.[24]

Swaraj's brother Dr. Gulshan Sharma is an Ayurveda doctor based in Ambala.[25]


Swaraj, while being the external affairs minister of the NDA government, issued an NOC against a specific query raised by the UK government about the Indo-UK bilateral relationship if UK granted permission to Lalit Modi, an Indian fugitive in a cricket scandal who had been staying in Britain since 2010, to attend his wife's surgery in Portugal.She conveyed to the British High Commissioner that they should examine Modi's request as per their rules and wrote "if the British government chooses to give travel documents to Lalit Modi -– that will not spoil our bilateral relations".[26] However, some people[who?] mentioned this incident as Swaraj helping Lalit Modi in the travel visa process.


Adjournment Motion in the Lok Sabha[edit]

On 12 August 2015, leader of Indian National Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge, moved an Adjournment Motion in the lower house seeking resignation of Sushma Swaraj due to her alleged conduct in this regard. Initially, the motion was rejected by the Speaker, but was accepted on Swaraj's insistence. Intervening in the motion, Swaraj clarified that Lalit Modi's right of residency was not cancelled since the Enforcement Directorate did not file an extradition request. The Adjournment Motion was subsequently rejected with voice vote.

Positions held[edit]

Documents being signed during the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India
  • 1977–82 Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly.[9]
  • 1977–79 Cabinet Minister, Labour and Employment, Government of Haryana.[9]
  • 1987–90 Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly.[9]
  • 1987–90 Cabinet Minister, Education, Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Haryana.[9]
  • 1990-96 Elected to Rajya Sabha (1st term)
  • 1996-97 [15 May 1996 – 4 December 1997] Member, Eleventh Lok Sabha (2nd term).
  • 1996 [16 May - 1 June] - Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting.[9]
  • 1998-99 [10 March 1998 – 26 April 1999] Member, Twelfth Lok Sabha (3rd term).
  • 1998 [19 March - 12 October] Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting and Telecommunications (Additional charge).
  • 1998 [13 October - 3 December] Chief Minister of Delhi.
  • 1998 [November] - Elected from Hauz Khas Assembly constituency of Delhi Assembly. Resigned from Delhi Assembly and retained Lok Sabha seat.
  • 2000-06 Member, Rajya Sabha (4th term).[7]
  • 2000-03 [30 September 2000 - 29 January 2003] Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
  • 2003-04 [29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004] Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
  • 2006-09 [April 2006 -] Member, Rajya Sabha (5th term).[30]
  • 2009-14 [16 May 2009 - 18 May 2014] Member, 15th Lok Sabha (6th term).[9]
  • 2009-09 [03 June 2009 - 21 December 2009] Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.[9]
  • 2009-14 [21 December 2009 - 18 May 2014] Leader of the Opposition and replaced Lal Krishna Advani.
  • 2014-Present [26 May 2014-] Member, 16th Lok Sabha (7th term)
  • 2014-Present [26 May 2014-] External Affairs Minister in the Union of India


  1. ^ a b c Sushma Swaraj. India Today. Retrieved on 28 May 2016.
  2. ^ "At a glance: Sushma Swaraj, from India's 'youngest minister' to 'aspiring PM'". India TV. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ BJP's Sushma Swaraj to contest Lok Sabha polls from Vidisha constituency. (13 March 2014). Retrieved on 21 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Sushma Swaraj". Encyclopedia Britannica. 
  5. ^ "The push for a Swaraj party". Tehelka. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sushma Swaraj Biography". 
  7. ^ a b Brief Bio-data. Member of Rajya Sabha. Sushma, Shrimati at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 May 2006)‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  8. ^ "Indian FM Sushma Swaraj's parents hailed from Lahore - Pakistan - Dunya News". Dunya News. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Detailed Profile – Smt. Sushma Swaraj – Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) – Who's Who – Government: National Portal of India". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Modi government's got talent but is it being fully utilised?", The Economic Times, 10 July 2016 
  11. ^ Archis Mohan (27 December 2015). "How Sushma Swaraj helped Modi get his Pak groove back". 
  12. ^ "Compendium of General Elections to Vidhan Sabha (1967–2009) in Haryana State" (PDF). NIC. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  13. ^ [1] Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  14. ^ SUSHMA SWARAJ (1952--) at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 June 2009)‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  15. ^ "Advani quits as Leader of Opposition". Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "New India opposition leader named". BBC News. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Lok Sabha". NIC. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "BJP gets majority alone". Sahara Samay. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Sushma Swaraj-first woman to get External Affairs portfolio". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti and Rajnath Singh sworn into the new cabinet". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ "A sneak peek into Sushma Swaraj's life". Dainik Bhaskar. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Sushma Swaraj re-invents herself in a party dominated by Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ . DNA India  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ Press Trust of India (12 August 2015). "LK Advani Appreciates Sushma Swaraj's Spirited Defence in Lok Sabha". 
  28. ^ Sandipan Sharma (14 June 2015). "Sushma Swaraj, daughter help ED accused: It's achhe din for Lalit Modi under BJP rule". Firstpost. 
  29. ^ "Sushma Swaraj helped expedite Lalit Modi's UK visa process!". Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  30. ^ Detailed Profile – – Members of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) – Who's Who – Government: National Portal of India. Retrieved on 30 July 2011. Archived 17 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Madan Lal Khurana
Member of Parliament
for South Delhi

Succeeded by
Vijay Kumar Malhotra
Preceded by
Rampal Singh
Member of Parliament
for Vidisha

Political offices
Preceded by
Sahib Singh Verma
Chief Minister of Delhi
12 October 1998 – 3 December 1998
Succeeded by
Sheila Dikshit
Preceded by
Arun Jaitley
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Succeeded by
Ravi Shankar Prasad
Preceded by
C. P. Thakur
Minister of Health and Family Welfare
29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004
Succeeded by
Anbumani Ramadoss
Preceded by
Pramod Mahajan
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
29 January 2003 – 22 May 2004
Succeeded by
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Preceded by
L. K. Advani
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Salman Khurshid
Minister of External Affairs
26 May 2014 – Present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vayalar Ravi
Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs
26 May 2016 – Present
Succeeded by