August 6, 2019 / 7:42 PM / 11 days ago

Veteran Indian politician Sushma Swaraj passes away

FILE PHOTO: India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj speaks as she and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (unseen) attend a media briefing in New Delhi, India, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Veteran Indian politician Sushma Swaraj, who most recently served as minister of external affairs, passed away on Tuesday, following a cardiac arrest.

Swaraj, 67, a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had opted out of contesting elections earlier this year citing health reasons.

“A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end,” tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor.”

A former Supreme Court lawyer, Swaraj was the senior most woman in Modi’s cabinet in his first term, which ended in May.

Swaraj was an active social media user, who often responded on Twitter and intervened to help people seeking assistance.

She was also known as a fiery politician and nationalist.

In 2017, she threatened to rescind the visas of all foreign executives of Amazon.com, if the e-commerce giant did not immediately take down doormats resembling the Indian flag from its Canadian portal. (reut.rs/2ZEjo9i)

President Ram Nath Kovind said India had “lost a much loved leader who epitomised dignity, courage & integrity in public life.” The opposition Congress party said it was “saddened”.

Reporting by Nigam Prusty; Additional reporting by Mekhla Raina and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Euan Rocha and Andrew Cawthorne

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