Sushma Swaraj won affection across political spectrum: Sonia Gandhi
In their political careers, they were always on opposing teams that were bitterly fighting with each other. At Sushma Swaraj’s passing, however, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, called it a “warm personal relationship’’.
Writing to her husband, former governor of Mizoram and lawyer, Swaraj Kaushal, Gandhi said, “Sushmaji was a superb orator, a great parliamentarian and had a rare gift for friendship that won her affection and admiration across the political spectrum.” While their electoral fight in Bellary, Karnataka, in 1999 became the defining moment of the Sonia- Sushma equation, Gandhi indicated today that, in the course of the two decades they spent in Parliament, they went beyond that. In 2009, Swaraj attacked her for being a foreigner. Then, in the run up to the 2004 campaign, she went a step further to say that she would shave her head the day Gandhi became Prime Minister. However, they moved beyond this acrimony and work as colleagues in the House.
“We developed a warm, personal relationship and I feel her loss greatly,” Gandhi wrote today. Author Rasheed Kidwai says this relationship was nurtured during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance when Gandhi headed the Congress Parliamentary Party and Swaraj was the Leader of the Opposition. “Sonia and she became friends. Sonia admired Sushma’s candidness and straightforward approach while the BJP leader, too, saw many leadership qualities in UPA chairperson,’’ said Kidwai. “In Swaraj, the Congress has lost an important link to BJP. With Jaitley, too, keeping indifferent health, the grand old party is short of friends in ruling party.”