Kabindra Purkayastha
Former union minister Kabindra Purkayastha at his residence in Silchar. Image credit - Northeast Now

Former union minister and senior BJP leader Kabindra Purkayastha termed former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s demise as a ‘great loss’.

Purkayastha expressed his deep sadness over the untimely death of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at AIIMS in New Delhi last night.

Speaking to Northeast Now at his residence on Wednesday, Purkayastha said, “It is an irreparable loss to the party and especially for me.”

“When I was a minister in the Vajpayee-led NDA government, she was my cabinet minister,” recalled Purkayastha.

When Purkayastha was union minister of state for communication in Vajpayee government from 1998 to 1999, Swaraj had additional charge of the ministry as Cabinet minister.

“When BJP was formed in 1980, we came to know each other and in due course of time our bond turned into a family relation,” the former union minister said.

Also read: Ex-union minister Sushma Swaraj no more, Northeast political leaders mourn

“So, since the news broke out, I have been trying hard to come to terms. She was only 67 years old and was 21 years younger to me,” he added.

Purkayastha also said, “In his political career, be it in the Assembly or Parliament or as a minister, she epitomized leadership which was unparalleled. She was completely successful.”

She was a leader “loved by all throughout the country”, which is very hard to have in one’s lifetime, he said.

“We now have to come out of this grief, but, filling this void, would be tough for us,” said Purkayastha, who is one of the founder leaders of BJP from Northeast.

Seasoned politician Purkaystha also reacted to the issue of scrapping of Article 370.

Article 370 was revoked in both the Houses of Parliament – on Monday in Rajya Sabha and on Tuesday in Lok Sabha.

He said, “Our leader Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and founder of the Jana Sangh advocated in 1951 to bring Kashmir on the lines of ‘ek nishan, ek pradhan, ek vidhan’.”

“Due to Article 370 applied for Kashmir, a ‘paradise’ never could uplift itself, be it socio-economically or culturally. In today’s situation, no one wants to visit this place,” he claimed.

He added, “BJP in all its general elections have kept the withdrawal of Article 370 as an issue in its manifesto.”

“Our leader Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died in Kashmir fighting for this cause. We have fought relentlessly for revoking of this Article,” he said.

“And now that it has been finally done, I personally would like to thank our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and our Home Minister Amit Shah for taking such a bold decision,” he added.

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