The former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was one of the ministers of the country who had used Twitter as an important tool to answer citizens' pleas for help instantly, and address their problems quickly.
Well-known as the easily-accessible foreign minister ever, Swaraj had helped many Indians, who were stuck abroad. With the help of Twitter account, she used to answer the queries of people and direct them properly through her official account that has over 13 million followers. She was known to have helped thousands of citizens living abroad by reuniting them with their families.
In her final tweets, she had congratulated all the MPs of Rajya Sabha, for passing the resolution on scrapping Article 370 on August 5. "Gave true homage to the sacrifice made by Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and fulfilled his dream of one India," read her tweet.
She also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the monumental decision. "I was waiting to see this day in my life....Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime," read her last tweet. It turned out to be a premonition as she breathed her last the next day.
Long Twitter Journey
A look at how Swaraj navigated her way into the hearts of people using Twitter is far more interesting than her entire political career.
In 2015, the Indian Army launched Operation Rahat (an 11-day evacuation) to evacuate more than 4,741 Indians and 1,947 foreign nationals from Yemen by air and sea routes during the military intervention by Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, in the same year, she also rescued 168 Indians who were stuck at the warzone at Basra in Iraq after she received a video on social media seeking help and also helped an Indian woman who lost wallet and passport in Berlin, Germany.
Sushma Swaraj also helped in rescuing a woman from the clutches of human traffickers in the middle-east, after a man named Dev Tamboli sought the EAMs help. She helped in the release of Hamid Ansari, who was imprisoned in Pakistan for 6 years and finally let free in 2018.
In 2016, she provided help to Captain Nikhil Mahajan to come to India from the United States to attend his late brother's funeral. Captain Nikhil is the brother of martyr Captain Tushar Mahajan. In 2017, Swaraj extended help to bring back an Indian student admitted in a hospital in the United States after she was approached by the latter's sister on Twitter.
In 2018, she assured assistance to a woman whose brother had met with an accident in Kuwait and was unconscious. The woman said that she had lost contact with him and needed the MEAs help to bring him back. The former EAM provided all needed assistance to bring back the man. She also assured help to a group of Indian students of the University of Illinois in the US who lost their passports in a fire accident.
In January 2019, when television actor Karanvir Bohra was stuck at Moscow International Airport due to some passport issue, Swaraj stepped in and helped him by issuing a temporary passport.
Sushma Swaraj re-engineered the role of a foreign minister beyond the elite confines of IFS cadres, making herself different from the predecessors. If there's any recognition for people's foreign minister, it would be Sushma Swaraj as ever.