Sushma Swaraj, India’s foreign minister in the outgoing government, tweeted a ‘Thank you’, note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after she was not inducted into his new council of ministers.
In the tweet, Sushma, 67, thanked him for giving her the opportunity to serve people – Indians and non-resident Indians – and respect that he extended to her during the last five years.
“I am grateful to you. My only prayer to God is that our government has a glorious run,” Swaraj, who had won millions of admirers for using the micro-blogging site to help out people, said.
In less than an hour, her message had been retweeted by over 5,000 people and counting.
Swaraj – who sat in the audience to watch PM Modi and his 57-member team take the oath of office and secrecy – had changed her Twitter bio to reflect her exit from the government just moments before tweeting her note to the PM.
The former foreign minister’s exit had come as a surprise to many and had been a closely-guarded secret known to just a few. Quite like ex-foreign secretary S Jaishankar induction into the Union Cabinet.
The veteran politician – the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha for the decade the UPA was in power and the BJP’s most prominent woman leader – had ruled herself out of the Lok Sabha race due to health reasons. She is a four-time Lok Sabha member and a member of the Rajya Sabha for three terms. Swaraj won her last election from Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha in 2014.
Swaraj entered the Haryana assembly in 1977 and became a minister in the state cabinet at the age of 25. She is a former chief minister of Delhi and has been part of every BJP government at the Centre.
Her challenge to Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Bellary in 1999 is one of the most discussed electoral battles of recent times, which Gandhi won by 56,000 votes.