Amid an outpouring of grief from all over the country and across the world, Sushma Swaraj was cremated with full state honours at New Delhi's Lodhi Road Crematorium on Wednesday afternoon. The final rites, attended by family members as well as politicians cutting across party lines, was performed by the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader's daughter Bansuri Swaraj.
Swaraj had complained of restlessness on Tuesday evening and had been rushed to AIIMS Hospital where she passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest. The news of her sudden death plunged the country into grief and a number of BJP leaders reached the hospital soon after. Her mortal remains were taken to her residence for the night. A large number of people had already gathered here to pay their respects.
On Wednesday, at around noon, Swaraj's mortal remains were taken to BJP headquarters. Draped in tricolour, the body was kept here for public homage. From a teary-eyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Home Minister Amit Shah, former PM Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former deputy PM LK Advani and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, the stream of people who paid their final respects to Swaraj was constant. Hundreds of party workers were gathered outside and kept chanting slogans in memory of their beloved leader. "Sushma didi amar rahe (Long live Sushma)," people chanted, their words reverberating all around the solemn ambience here.
Messages of condolences too kept pouring in from across the world with a number of ambassadors remembering Swaraj's contribution and her charismatic personality as India's External Affairs Minister.
At around 3.30, the mortal remains of the beloved leader was taken in a special ambulance to Lodhi Road Crematorium. She was given an emotional salute by husband Swaraj Kaushal and Bansuri.
A traffic advisory had already been issued earlier in the day.
At the crematorium, Swaraj's daughter Bansuri performed the final rites. Among those present here were PM Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Shah, Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda, Nitin Gadkari, Advani, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. CMs Kejriwal, Ashok Gehlot and Biplab Deb were also present. The funeral was also attended by former Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.
Swaraj's demise leaves a big void in Indian politics and is an end to an era. Thousands of messages flooded Twitter in memory of a politician known as much for her fiery oratory and fearless leadership as she was for her affable smile and quick wit.