MP was central to Swaraj's political journey

Sushma Swaraj. (PTI Photo)

BJP stalwart and former Union minister Sushma Swaraj, who died on Tuesday night, had a special connection with Madhya Pradesh, which she represented in Parliament multiple times.

Though she started her electoral career in Haryana and also served as the chief minister of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh was an important destination in her decades-long and highly successful political career.

She was elected to the Lok Sabha from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh in 2009 and 2014, and also represented the state in the Rajya Sabha once.

In her first term from Vidisha, Swaraj served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009-14.

After winning in 2014, the 67-year-old politician went on become the External Affairs Minister in the first term of the Narendra Modi government.

Swaraj, who had a kidney transplant in 2016, had opted out of fighting the Lok Sabha elections this year due to health reasons.

Her sudden demise has come as a shock to the people of Vidisha, located around 50km from Bhopal. Vidisha, a high- profile Lok Sabha seat, had also been represented in the past by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Sitting Vidisha BJP MP Ramakant Bhargava fondly remembered the late leader.

"Sushmaji was like an elder sister to me. I worked with her for 10 years and observed that she frequently met party workers and freely mingled with common people to establish a rapport with them, he added.

During her election meetings, Swaraj, a powerful orator, would strive to strike an emotional connect with the people of her constituency, Bhargava said.

"Sushmaji used to tell the people in Vidisha that she had come to them as a sister. She would assure to keep the promises made to them and never let them down, Bhargava said.

Swaraj regularly visited her constituency to remain in touch with voters and understand issues faced by them, he said.

"She could not visit her constituency last year due to her failing health, the BJP MP said.

She would help people from Vidisha visiting New Delhi for advanced treatment at AIIMS, Bhargava said.

"She blessed me when I met her in Delhi after winning the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat (in May). Sushmaji spoke to me at length and told me to work religiously for development of Vidisha, Bhargava said.

BJP leader and former MP from Bhopal Alok Sanjar said Swaraj was instrumental in speeding up the work of setting up AIIMS campus in the state capital after she became a Rajya Sabha member from the state in 2006.

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