Sushma Swaraj - an orator and a prominent face of BJP (Profile)
A top woman leader of the BJP and one of its best orators, Sushma Swaraj has blazed some records in her over three decade-old political career including being the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana and the first woman chief minister of Delhi.
Sushma Swaraj, 62, who was appointed union minister Monday, has enthusiastically performed tasks assigned to her by her party including contesting the election from Bellary in Karnataka against Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Appointed Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha, Swaraj led from the front in attacking the UPA government on its perceived failures. She also shared camaraderie with the treasury benches, sometimes reciting poetry to lighten up the atmosphere in the house.
Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, who was the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, together formed a formidable opposition team to counter the United Progressive Alliance government.
Swaraj was a minister in the Vajpayee governments and headed ministries including information and broadcasting and health.
Quick witted and articulate, Sushma Swaraj is well regarded in the BJP for her oratorical skills. She also strongly espouses causes such as cow protection which are close to the heart of BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Into her seventh term as an MP, Sushma Swaraj has had a chequered political career starting as a member of the Haryana assembly in 1977. She was appointed a cabinet minister in the state the same year.
She was first elected as a MP in 1990 and became a member of the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP brought her in as chief minister of Delhi in 1998 months before the assembly elections to shore up the party's fortunes. She remained in the post for about three months.
A lawyer by training, Sushma Swaraj went all the way to Bellary in Karnataka to challenge Sonia Gandhi in the 1999 Lok Sabha election. Though she lost, she gained in stature in the party and outside by her spirited campaign. The BJP was able to form its government in Karnataka ten years later, the party's first government in south India.
Sushma Swaraj was among the leaders considered prime ministerial candidates in the party before the 2014 Lok Sabha election. She was also not considered close to Modi in political circles and had apparently not batted for him in the way some of her other colleagues had done.
However, this did not diminish her standing in the party and she was virtually placed at number three in the cabinet, having taken oath of office after Modi and party president Rajnath Singh.
Sushma Swaraj has been re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh.
Born in Ambala Cantonment in Haryana, Swaraj studied at S. D. College in Ambala and was given "best student" award. She later studied law at Panjab University.
(Posted on 26-05-2014)