External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not only known for her active presence on Twitter to respond to the SOS messages of Indians stranded abroad, something that has earned her the title of “agony aunt”, she is also loved for her witty one-liners in response to the tweets that intend to take a dig on her, like happened this morning.

A Karan Saini, whose Twitter bio says that he is tweeting from Chicago, wrote on Twitter that “Sushma Swaraj, I am stuck on mars, food sent via Mangalyaan (987 days ago), is running out, when is Mangalyaan-II being sent?” He also tagged the Indian Space Research Organisation in his tweet.

Incidentally, the man had tweeted the same lines on June 6 but Sushma Swaraj didn’t respond to it.

But Twitter history says patience pays here if you want to have a response from Sushma Swaraj. And whenever she does so, responding to the tweets which are generally ignored by other ministers of the government of India for being poor in taste or for being satirical, she is at her hilarious best in answering them. Mr. Saini’s retweet of his tweet finally caught Sushma’s attention and what she wrote in response has gone viral on the internet for its wit and humour. She wrote,

India launched Mangalyan I in November 2013 and Mangalyan II mission is still in planning stage and the ISRO has invited scientific proposals for it.

The episode reminds of some of the earlier instances when the EAM’s Twitter remarks made the Internet go berserk, be it people’s silly and misplaced complaints or SOS cries. In March, a woman tagged Sushma Swaraj saying she would keep tweeting unless Sushma responds. The woman claimed that she was cheated by her NRI student. In her inimitable style, that has become barometer of her patience, Sushma assured the woman of every help but it was the Twitter conversation between both that caught people’s eye.

Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj
Aap haar mat maniye. Mujhe apni samasya batayiye.
Sushma Swaraj added,
Richa Patel @RichaPa49309383
@SushmaSwaraj @SushmaSwaraj dear mam me bhi apko tab tak tweet karti rahungi jab tak ap javab nhi dete me bhi har nhi manungi….
9:07 AM – 30 Mar 2017

In another instance, when a woman threatened to commit suicide as she was not able to get New Zealand visa to meet her husband, Sushma calmly advised her not to commit suicide and tell what the issue was.

Sushma Swaraj‏ @SushmaSwaraj
Aap suicide mat kijiye. Apni baat batayiye.Sushma Swaraj added,
Jyoti S Pande @jyotiranapande
Replying to @SushmaSwaraj
Please help me for my visa
Mere ko suicide krna parega kya.apni baat aap taak paguchane ko
9:14 AM – 30 Mar 2017

The conversation thread on Twitter for this tweet is just an example how patiently and discreetly Sushma handles such Twitter complaints. From March 30 to 31, Sushma Swaraj and the woman exchanged eight tweets with Sushma asking for details and the woman finally thanking her for help.

Or take this tweet when a man complained the EAM about a defective refrigerator sold to him. Instead of just ignoring it, what she wrote tell us why she is considered one of the best orators in Indian politics.

Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj
Brother I cannot help you in matters of a Refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress.
Venkat‏ @M_VenkatM
@irvpaswan @SushmaSwaraj Dear Ministers, @Samsung_IN sold me a defective refrigerator, they r not ready to replace
9:27 AM – 13 Jun 2016



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has earned a reputation of being a sensitive and active minister who is always there to help people in need, even if she is recuperating in AIIMS after her kidney transplant. She is one of the very few ministers in the Government of India who leverages the power of social media to make things go for the needy and has mobilized hopes among those millions who feel harassed and stuck in a labyrinthine administrative machinery to get things done, like getting a passport in India.

Though the government is trying to make the process easier and has introduced many steps including use of online platforms, issues do crop up where we feel that why it is still dragging there and when would we get over such illogical requirements like making it mandatory for women to prove their identity through their husbands’ or parents’ supportive documents even if they have Aadhaar cards or asking differently-abled people to be present in person at a passport office even if they are 90 percent disabled.

Heart-wrenching appeal of parents of two disabled daughters, one with 90 percent and other with 72 percent, thankfully got a serious listener in Sushma Swaraj who acted promptly, like she has done in so many other cases.

Subbalakshmi (70) and RS Rallapalli (75), parents of R. Sarvani who has 90% disability and R. Gayathridevi who has 72% disability, made an appeal to Sushma Swaraj for passports of their daughters. They wrote that they have been taking care of their daughters for the past 40 years but as age is not on their side, they need to make arrangements for their daughters to be sent to their sons living in the US and Canada once they cannot.

Subbalakshmi and RS Rallapalli wrote in their appeal, published on and so far signed by over 46,000 people, that they have not been able to apply for passports due to their daughters’ ‘severe physical disabilities’ due to which they cannot take a bus or train to the nearest passport centre that is 110 kms away from their house. And their old age doesn’t allow them to help their daughters travel either. They also uploaded Sarvani’s disability certificate.

Yesterday Sushma had acknowledged the petition asking for the parents’ contact details and today she assured them that their problem has been taken care of and the passports of their daughters will reach their home.

I have gone through your Petition. We will definitely help you. Please give me your address and Phone nos. @CPVIndia
7:36 PM – 23 Jan 2017

Your daughters do not have to go anywhere. The Passports will reach your house today.
6:55 PM – 24 Jan 2017

Responding to Sushma’s gesture, Mr. Rallapalli wrote, “Sushmaji’s immediate and prompt action restores our faith in good governance and I’m really happy that our ministers are helping people”. Thanking everyone who signed the petition, he said that they were overjoyed and deeply grateful for the intervention and the process to issue the passports of their daughters had already begun.



The Bhartiya Janata Party has chosen to skip all first-mover advantages that Rahul Gandhi also allowed to slip. He did not take out of the box initiative on the Lokpal Bill. The country would have loved to see him taking side of Anna Hazare. The country would have respected him if he would not have delayed his reactions on December 16 Delhi gangrape incident or firing on farmers in Maval. The country would have worshipped him if he had clarified on Robert Vadra.

Narendra Modi had also his chances, the chances that begun just after completion of the first year of his government on May 26. It started with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. The Lalit Modi row then reached to take Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Rajasthan’s chief-minister and his MP son Dushyant Singh in its grip. Then came the much reviled episode, deaths in the Vyapam scam. In spite of over 45 deaths in the scam, Madhya Pradesh chief-minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan did not ask for a central investigation. in fact, he was forced to ask for a CBI probe when he was cornered from all sides.

Like Rahul Gandhi didn’t realize or allowed to slip such life-changing political opportunities – the moves that could have made him a true mass leader – Narendra Modi, knowingly or unknowingly, is on the same way.

Yes, Sushma Swaraj may be too big a name in the BJP to remove from her position, even if she is considered close to L. K. Adavani, but the BJP could have asked Vasundhara to leave office till she came clean. Same follows for her son. And Shivraj could have been pressured much earlier to recommend a CBI probe in the scam that is not limited only to Madhya Pradesh. And these controversies follow from the earlier streak of negatives associated with his government.

Yes, Narendra Modi is still not in the red zone. In fact, the names dragged in controversies in this round are seen anti to his interests in the party and his political career. Vasundhara Raje was seen as a strong regional satrap who worked independently of what the BJP’s central leadership said. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen as a possible contender to the prime-minister’s office when the BJP was finalizing its prime-ministerial candidate before the last Lok Sabha polls.

So, in a way, the weakened positions of these leader would help Narendra Modi politically. But the collateral damage may be severe. There have been developments, in the first year, and especially, in the days after the first year, that have dented government’s image creating a credibility crisis.

And if left unchecked, and if governance falls short on development parameters, and if more such controversies become talking points, the collateral damage will become corrosive enough to hurt electoral prospects.

The credibility crisis must not become the crisis point-of-view driven by mass credulity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


In Vasundhara Raje Scindia’s son Dushyant Singh?

Dushyant Singh is a Bhartiya Janata Party MP from Jhalawar-Baran in Rajasthan. Obviously, he is a self-made politician even if he belongs to a royal family and her mother is the chief-minister of the state he is elected from!

A report says Enforcement Directorate has found anomaly in a financial transaction between Dushyant Singh’s company and Lalit Modi’s firm.

And the details are potent enough to create a ‘Robert Vadra’ sort of controversy. In fact, it has started.

Allegations say Lalit Modi’s firm, Anand Heritage Hotels Private Ltd, infused over 11.60 crore in Dushyant Singh’s Niyant Heritage Hotels Private Limited. Vasundhara Raje Scindia was Rajasthan’s CM then (in her first term).

The break-up includes an unsecured loan of 3.80 crore in 2008 and purchase of 815 shares of Rs. 10 each, at over 96,000 for another 7.8 crore, in subsequent years.

Now, as there are allegations, so there are political justifications, like we have been witnessing in Robert Vadra’s case.

Every justification has proved shady in Robert Vadra’s issue after the persistent row over his meteoric rise post 2007 and his controversial land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan. Congress and Rahul Gandhi must find answers to the ‘unanswered questions’ related to him if they have to talk of the politics of probity.

Obvious parallels are being drawn in Dushyant Singh’s case. Any logic cannot justify why Lalit Modi invested that much money in a firm that was established in 2005 with capitals of Rs. 50,000 each from Dushyant Singh and his wife. Even family friends (Lalit Modi claims he knows Vasundhara’s family for years) don’t do such acts of ‘misplaced largesse’. That makes us go back to the only one reason, the most plausible one – that his mother was then the chief-minister of Rajasthan.

Yes, Robert Vadra controversy has been widely played out by the political opponents and handling it requires a difficult approach as he belongs to a family that is Congress’ pivot. Congress of the day, even if humiliated and electorally out, is nothing without the Nehru-Gandhi family.

On the other hand, as the sources say right now, the BJP may ask Vasundhara to come clean on both issues – on her support to Lalit Modi for his immigration papers to the UK and on Lalit Modi’s money in his son’s firm.

Yes, the BJP would do all to thwart any efforts to shape this as ‘Robert Vadra’s parallel of the BJP’ and the party is in better position to take action as the BJP can survive without Vasundhara Raje Scindia as Rajasthan’s chief-minster and without her son.

Let’s wait and watch to see what happens next.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The Bhartiya Janata Party is weathering political storm over Sushma Swaraj’s ‘humanitarian’ aid to Lalit Modi to let him have the travel documents issued.

Even if this ‘humanitarian’ aid is ethically unviable and makes Sushma Swaraj’s position as the External Affairs Minister of India untenable, it is ‘politically viable’ within the political circumstances of the day – where every outfit is engaged in earning political mileage out of every twist and turn – irrespective of the ethical considerations involved.

So, what is ‘humanitarian’ for Sushma, the RSS, the BJP and some other parties supporting him, is unethical and illegal for others.

And this ‘political viability’ has saved the day for Sushma as of now, from the factions within the party, and from the political pressure outside.

But a development today may prove a bottleneck for her, a dilemma where the BJP needs to find a solution – an approach to defend two senior leaders – one a senior-most minister and another a chief-minister.

And it will be a political display between ‘political viability’ and ‘ethical propriety’.

Last evening’s presser held by Lalit Modi’s lawyer Mehmood Abdi, to defend Lalit Modi and to clarify his position after the expose of Sushma’s aid to him, turned political and could not serve the purpose for which it was held. His lawyer openly blamed the United Progressive Alliance’s government for implicating and ‘hounding’ Lalit Modi. His lawyer blamed three senior UPA ministers. His lawyer blamed the UPA government to withdraw Modi’s security even if he was facing threats from the underworld.

And in a bunch of documents sent after that presser, in support, was a document, that in place of easing the life for the BJP strategists and Sushma Swaraj, is explosive enough to make their lives a political quagmire.

The document, with no signatures, but mailed by Lalit Modi’s public relations firm, shows Vasundhara Raje Scindia as the witness for Lalit Modi’s immigration application form. That was in August 2011 when Vasundhara was leader of opposition in Rajasthan. Document’s veracity is in question, but August 2011 comes months later after as Lalit Modi’s passport was revoked in October 2010 after he fled (left) India in July 2010. Vasundhara Raje is Rajasthan’s chief-minister now.

Vasundhara has said she is not aware of the ‘document in question. Sushma has denied any wrongdoing while extending her humanitarian help.

The BJP had accepted what Sushma said, whatever be the reasons. It did so even today, in the presser held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The controversy surrounding the document naming Vasundhara cropped up after it and the BJP is yet to response on it.

Both are among the senior-most and most high-profile BJP leaders. Now, that the party is strongly ‘behind Sushma Swaraj, it has to do the same with Vasundhara Raje Scindia to sustain the ‘political viability’ in the case.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The Bhartiya Janata Party will try to envelope its defensive stand on the issue in an offensive garb to take on the political storm.

Like it is doing, it will do all to justify the ‘humanitarian’ nature of Sushma Swaraj’s aid extended to Lalit Modi, delinking it with any cases in India Lalit Modi is facing. And, with letter from the Portugal hospital which said his presence was necessary during his wife’s surgery there, the BJP strategists will further reinforce their line of defence (offence).

Irrespective of different factions in the BJP and irrespective of the fact that Sushma Swaraj is seen as from the anti-Narendra Modi Advani faction, the BJP cannot afford to look acting on Sushma this time. It will put the party on back-foot and will give political opponents further avenue to attack the party on the issue. She is among the senior-most party leaders and ministers.

Removing or reshuffling Sushma Swaraj at this stage, midst this row, would send out a message that the BJP was convinced that Sushma did cross the ‘propriety’ line and committed an ‘unethical’ act and the party was pressurised to the extent that it had to remove her or cut her to the size.

While the RSS and the party have backed Sushma Swaraj and party spokespersons are busy in defending her on airwaves and in media, prime minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have adopted a stoic silence.

That is possibly the best strategy – to shield behind the time – so that the political opposition could taper off.

And everyone knows it, including the political analysts and the politicians across the spectrum.

Everyone is trying to squeeze in the maximum political mileage out of it – like happens with every issue in the Indian politics of the day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –