BJP had organised a condolence meeting to pay tribute to former External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday. The former EAM passed away on the night of August 6 following a cardiac arrest.
Speaking at the condolence meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared an anecdote from the time when he addressed the United Nations for the first time in 2015. Sharing the moment, PM Modi highlighted how former EAM Sushma Swaraj had helped him write his speech for the UNGA address and suggested him to follow the protocols for such international forums.
"She might have been younger to me in age, but I would like to say that I got to learn a lot from her. I was new and was about to address the United Nations. Sushma ji had reached before me and when I reached, she was there to receive me at the gate. Sushma ji asked me about my speech. I said I say something, however, she told me that this is not how things work. She told me that we are going to talk about India and I can't say anything like that. In the night itself, we both sat down and drafted the speech together. She had urged that there are some forums which have their own provisions and we must follow them," PM Modi shared.
He further hailed the efforts of Sushma Swaraj as the External Affairs Minister under whose leadership, India got over 500 passport offices as against less than 100 before her tenure.
"In any ministerial duty she held, Sushma Ji brought about a marked change in the work culture there. One would conventionally associate the MEA with protocol but Sushma Ji went a step ahead and answered the people’s call, making the Ministry people-friendly. There was a time when there were hardly 70 passport offices in the country. Now, there are over 500 passport offices in the country. The number of passport offices rose significantly during the tenure of Sushma Ji. This shows how much she cared about the people," the Prime Minister added.
Later, PM Modi spoke about how Sushma Swaraj never hesitated to speak her mind, which he said was special about the former EAM.
"We are used to people saying politically correct things but Sushma Ji was different. She did not hesitate to speak her mind and she spoke with firmness. There was a Haryanvi touch in her accent. This was special about her," he said.
During the condolence meeting, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and many other senior cabinet ministers and BJP leaders were in attendance to pay their tribute to the stalwart. Several other diplomats and leaders across the political spectrum are also expected to attend the event.
(With ANI inputs)