Sushma Swaraj, who had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls 2019 for health reasons, left behind a legacy of an easily-accessible minister who helped the diaspora in distress with her revolutionary social media outreach
Sushma Swaraj, an illustrious Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former External Affairs Minister, passed away on August 6 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Swaraj, who had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls 2019 for health reasons, left behind a legacy of an easily-accessible minister who helped the diaspora in distress with her revolutionary social media outreach.
“A true leader, who gave the confidence to Indians in distress anywhere in the world that help was just one tweet away,” tweeted Working President of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) KT Rama Rao, aka KTR.
The words of KTR are true as the minister, in her stint as MEA from 2014 to 2019, was known for prompt response on Twitter to address grievances of overseas Indians.
Lost your passport while or just before travelling? Need an urgent visa? Wondering why your new passport is taking so long to arrive? Stuck in a foreign country? Need to rescue relatives from a foreign land? And many more issues, Swaraj was ready to help the Indian in just one tweet to her.
“Please represent/tweet your problem to the concerned Indian Embassy/High Commission. That will expedite matters. I monitor their replies to you personally,” Swaraj posted on Twitter during her journey as an MEA.
In one heart touching-incident, Swaraj facilitated travelling of an Indian citizen to Munich where his brother was killed. “Indian couple Prashant and Smita Basarur were stabbed by an immigrant near Munich. Unfortunately, Prashant has expired. Smita is stable. We are facilitating the travel of Prashant's brother to Germany. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” tweeted Swaraj.
The former MEA also witnessed some bizzare tweets like, in 2017, one Twitter user said he was stuck on mars. Swaraj’s simply-worded yet wonderful reply to him won the hearts of netizens, as she replied, “Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.”Swaraj used Twitter to even reply to her trolls. Facing online abuse over a controversy involving the issuance of passport to an inter-faith couple, she had conducted a poll on Twitter asking users whether they “approve such trolling to which 57 percent respondents said they oppose it.
Friends : I have liked some tweets. This is happening for the last few days. Do you approve of such tweets ? Please RT
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) June 30, 2018
After the poll, Swaraj tweeted, “In a democracy difference of opinion is but natural. Pls do criticise but not in foul language. Criticism in decent language is always more effective. (sic)”
Swaraj, who had been earned the reputation of being one of the most tech-savvy leaders in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first cabinet, assured it was her who handled her Twitter.
"Rest assured - it's me, not my ghost," said the minister, in reply to a Twitter user who said the minister "certainly" wasn't tweeting herself, and it was probably "some PR guy" who was doing the job for her.
Even after leaving electoral politics, Swaraj was active on social media. Her last tweet was to congratulate PM Modi for abrogating Article 370.
Taking to Twitter in the evening on August 6, Swaraj said: "@narendramodi ji - Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime. (sic)"
Here are some of the tweets in the final days of her stint as MEA:
I have just spoken to Taranjit S.Sandhu Indian High Commissioner in Colombo @IndiainSL. We are identifying Indians amongst those killed in the blasts. Please get in touch with Indian High Commission for any help on Phone nos. +94777903082, +94112422788, +94112422789.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 22, 2019
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 20, 2019
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 18, 2019
The family should not worry. With the efforts of Indian High Commission in Dhaka, the mortal remains of Ms.Quaratulain MBBS student from Anantnag are on board and the flight has taken off. My Officers are waiting at the Kolkata Airport to receive her mortal remains. @ihcdhaka https://t.co/yMK8xcs3b4— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 14, 2019
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I will have this examined today itself. Thanks, you brought this to my notice. https://t.co/kGNXzAz4Hi
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 1, 2019