Sushma Transformed Ministry of External Affairs; She Answered People’s Call Over Protocol: PM Modi

The prime minister said he learnt a lot from her and then spoke about his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, months after he had assumed the office for the first time.

Sushma Transformed Ministry of External Affairs; She Answered People’s Call Over Protocol: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to former External Minister Sushma Swaraj
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 13 Aug 2019 10:39 PM
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tribute to former Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj at a condolence meet held at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and credited her for transforming the External Affairs Ministry from being bound to protocol to one oriented to "people's call". He also recalled she had urged him to deliver his first UN speech from a prepared text and not speak impromptu.

67-year-old Sushma Swaraj passed away on August 6 at AIIMS following a cardiac arrest.


The prime minister said he learnt a lot from her and then spoke about his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, months after he had assumed the office for the first time.

After she received him, he suggested that they sit together as he had to deliver his speech the next day, Modi said.

Swaraj enquired where his speech was and he said he never writes his speeches as he finds it difficult.

"She said, 'aisa nahi hota hai bhai' (It does work like this brother). 'You have to speak about India to the world. You cannot speak as you wish'. I was prime minister and she was my colleague minister taking care of the external affairs ministry..." Modi said.

The prime minister said he had undertaken a long travel and was also on fast due to 'navratra' but she insisted he share his thoughts.

The ministry prepared a draft speech for him, he said.

"It was her request... One may be a fine orator but there are some forums which have their own traditions. This was the first lesson Sushma ji had taught me," he said, adding she had the courage to speak what she believed to be right.

Referring to Swaraj's prompt response to Indians facing problems abroad or related to the ministry, he said she transformed the ministry.

It used to be bound to protocol but she transformed it and made it oriented to people's call, he said.

BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party's working president J P Nadda, besides Anand Sharma of the Congress, Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, Pinaki Misra of the BJD, LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant and opposition leader Sharad Yadav were among others who spoke at the condolence meeting.

Then in a series of tweets the Prime Minister went on to laud Swaraj for her contribution to the party and the country.

"I remember Venkaiah Naidu Ji and me going to Sushma Ji, and asking her to go to Karnataka to fight elections. The outcome was certain but she was someone who was always ready to take up challenges," he tweeted.

He said: "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."

"The number of passport offices rose significantly during the tenure of Sushma Ji. This shows how much she cared about the people," he said.

"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. This was special about her," the PM added.









(with inputs from PTI)

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