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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
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
In office
21 December 2009 – 26 May 2014
Preceded by L. K. Advani
Succeeded by Vacant
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 63)
Ambala Cantt, Punjab, India
(now in Haryana, India)
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Other political
National Democratic Alliance
Spouse(s) Swaraj Kaushal
Alma mater Panjab University, Chandigarh
Religion Hinduism

Sushma Swaraj About this sound pronunciation  (born 14 February 1952) is an Indian politician, former 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.[1]

In Indian general election, 2014, she won from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term.[2] She became the External Affairs Minister in union cabinet on 26 May 2014. She retained her Vidisha parliamentary seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes in the 16th Lok Sabha in the general election held in May 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Sushma Swaraj (née Sushma Sharma)[3] was born at Ambala Cantt, Haryana[4] on 14 February 1952 to Hardev Sharma & Shrimati Laxmi Devi.[5][6] Her father was a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member. Her parents hailed from Dharampura area of Lahore, Pakistan.[7] She was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a Bachelor's degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science.[8] She studied law at Punjab University, Chandigarh, and practised as a Supreme Court of India advocate from 1973.[8] A state-level competition held by the Language Department of Haryana saw her winning the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.[5]

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 emergency she joined Bharatiya Janata Party. Later she became a national leader of BJP.[9]

State-level politics[edit]

She was a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from 1977 to 1982 from Ambala Cantonment assembly seat at the age of 25 and then again from 1987 to 1990.[10] 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.[8]

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. But BJP had lost the Assembly elections because of rising prices and inflation. She resigned 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. During this tenure, she started live telecast of Lok Sabha debates for general public.[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. She also started community radio by the Universities and other institutions.

In September 1999, BJP nominated Swaraj to contest against the Congress party's national President, Sonia Gandhi in upcoming 13th Lok Sabha election, from the Bellary constituency in Karnataka, which had always retained by Congress politicians since first Indian general election, 1951–52. During her campaign, she addressed public meetings in 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.[11]

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.[12] She was inducted into the Union Cabinet as Minister for Information and Broadcasting, which position she held from September 2000 until January 2003.

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).

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.[13][14][15] [16]

External Affairs Minister[edit]

Documents being signed during the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India

Swaraj is the serving Indian External Affairs Minister under Prime Minister Narendra Modi from May 2014, responsible for implementing the foreign policy of Narendra Modi. She is only the second woman to hold this position after Indira Gandhi.[17][18]

Sushma Swaraj was trying to push her idea to make the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, as national scripture.[19]

Distinctions and records[edit]

In 1977, she became the youngest ever Cabinet Minister in the country at 25 years of age. 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. 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 been a member of parliament/legislator for 30 years.[citation needed] She has served as the President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Haryana for four years.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Sushma Swaraj is married to Swaraj Kaushal, a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer who served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. Swaraj Kaushal was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2004. The couple have a daughter, Bansuri, who is a graduate from Oxford University and a Barrister at Law from Inner Temple.[20][21]


Swaraj, while being the external affairs minister of NDA govt, issued an NOC against a specific query raised by the UK government about Indo-UK bilateral relationship if UK granted permission to Lalit Modi, an Indian fugitive in cricket scandal- 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".[22] However, some people mentioned this incident as - Swaraj helped Lalit Modi in the travel visa process. On 12 August 2015, she made a statement on all allegations against her in the Lok Sabha owing to an Adjournment Motion, a speech which is considered as one of the most iconic speeches of her political career. Veteran BJP leader L. K. Advani patted her back after the speech. [23][24][25]

Positions held[edit]

  • 1977–82 and 1987–90 Elected as Member, Haryana Legislative Assembly.[8]
  • 1977–79 Cabinet Minister, Labour and Employment, Government of Haryana.[8]
  • 1987–90 Cabinet Minister, Education, Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Haryana.[8]
  • April 1990 Elected to Rajya Sabha (1st term)
  • 1996 Member, Eleventh Lok Sabha (2nd term).
  • 16 May – 1 June 1996 Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting.[8]
  • 1998 Member, Twelfth Lok Sabha (3rd term).
  • 19 March – 12 Oct 1998 Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting and Telecommunications (Additional charge).
  • 13 October – 3 December 1998 Chief Minister of Delhi.
  • November 1998 Elected from Hauz Khas Assembly constituency of Delhi Assembly. Resigned from Delhi Assembly and retained Lok Sabha seat.
  • April 2000 Elected to Rajya Sabha (4th term).[6]
  • 30 Sep 2000–29 Jan 2003 Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
  • 29 Jan 2003 – 22 May 2004 Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
  • April 2006 Re-elected to Rajya Sabha (5th term).[26]
  • 16 May 2009 Elected to the 15th Lok Sabha (6th term).[8]
  • 3 June 2009 Elected as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.[8]
  • 21 Dec 2009 Leader of the Opposition and replaced Lal Krishna Advani.
  • 26 May 2014 External Affairs Minister in the Union of India


  1. ^ "At a glance: Sushma Swaraj, from India's 'youngest minister' to 'aspiring PM'". India TV. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ BJP's Sushma Swaraj to contest Lok Sabha polls from Vidisha constituency. (13 March 2014). Retrieved on 21 May 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The push for a Swaraj party". Tehelka. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ a b Brief Bio-data. Member of Rajya Sabha. Sushma, Shrimati at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 May 2006)
  7. ^ "Indian FM Sushma Swaraj's parents hailed from Lahore - Pakistan - Dunya News". (Dunya News). Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Detailed Profile – Smt. Sushma Swaraj – Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) – Who's Who – Government: National Portal of India". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Compendium of General Elections to Vidhan Sabha (1967–2009) in Haryana State" (PDF). NIC. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ SUSHMA SWARAJ (1952--) at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 June 2009)
  13. ^ "Advani quits as Leader of Opposition". Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "New India opposition leader named". BBC News. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Lok Sabha". NIC. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "BJP gets majority alone". Sahara Samay. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sushma Swaraj-first woman to get External Affairs portfolio". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti and Rajnath Singh sworn into the new cabinet". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "A sneak peek into Sushma Swaraj's life". Dainik Bhaskar. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Sushma Swaraj re-invents herself in a party dominated by Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  22. ^  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ helped Lalit Modi helped Lalit Modi Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 16 June 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ 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

External links[edit]

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

Preceded by
Arun Jaitley
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Succeeded by
Ravi Shankar Prasad
Preceded by
L. K. Advani
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha