External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, 20 September, announced she wouldn't fight the upcoming 2019 polls, citing health reasons.
Swaraj, a senior BJP leader, was appointed the Minister of External Affairs after Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the 2014 general elections, making her only the second woman to hold the coveted post, after Indira Gandhi.
Her tryst with the Lok Sabha elections began in 1996, when she first won a seat from the South Delhi constituency, and was subsequently re-elected from the constituency in 1998. Swaraj registered her first loss in the Lok Sabha elections in 1999 from the Bellary constituency in Karnataka, losing to the Congress’s Sonia Gandhi by a slim margin of 7%.
Following this, Swaraj won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh, retaining the seat in the subsequent 2014 elections.
Swaraj is One Half of India’s Power (And Also Twitter) Couple
Among the most tech-savvy politicians of her time, Swaraj has insightfully tapped into the potential of Twitter as an official communication tool, often conducting her business over the social media platform. She has reached out to several people in need via the platform, earning herself the title of ‘India’s most-loved politician’.
Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal, erstwhile Governor of Mizoram and a Supreme Court lawyer, is almost as active as the EAM on Twitter, if not more. In fact, soon after her announcement, Kaushal responded on Twitter, replete with his dry humour:
Kaushal has also often come to her rescue and also fought by her side against abusive trolls. A recent example of this is when Swaraj decided to issue passports to an inter-faith couple in Lucknow, after they faced harassment at the hands of the officials in the passport office.
Swaraj was immediately targeted by several trolls on Twitter – with one particularly nasty troll stating that she be thrashed. Kaushal immediately jumped to her defence, tweeting:
Interestingly, the couple have also engaged in some fun conversation on Twitter, often pulling each other’s leg. In 2016, the EAM tweeted:
Similarly, in 2017, when Kaushal was asked by a Twitter user regarding his wife’s salary, he responded in his inimitable tongue-in-cheek manner by by saying, “Dekho – Meri umar aur Madam ki tankhah nahin poochho. These are bad manners.”
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