‘Sangh values’ run through my veins; can’t think of filling mother’s shoes: Bansuri Swaraj

PTI, Apr 13, 2024, 6:34 PM IST

Credit: PTI Photo / Arun Sharma

New Delhi: Bansuri Swaraj, the BJP candidate from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat and daughter of late Union minister Sushma Swaraj, said the values of Sangh run through her veins and that she cannot even think of filling her mother’s shoes owing to her stature and legacy.

In an interaction with PTI editors at the agency’s headquarters, Bansuri Swaraj reminisced the deep connection she had with her mother since childhood and revealed that she has continued the late minister’s tradition of sending BJP veteran L K Advani his favourite cake on his birthday every year.

Bansuri Swaraj, the only child of Sushma Swaraj and Swaraj Kaushal, said while growing up, there was a strict rule in the house — she had to converse with her mother in Hindi, and father in English — which made her proficient in both the languages.
Forty-year-old Bansuri Swaraj, the youngest BJP candidate in Delhi, said she had a normal upbringing which has kept her grounded while her family consisting of her parents and grandparents had a nationalistic outlook.

“I humbly submit that I am in politics not because of Sushma Swaraj, and I say this with great responsibility. My ‘Sangh Ayu’ (affiliation) is 24 years. I started my political life as an ABVP worker,” she said.

“I have served the party and organisation as a lawyer for the last 10 years. I got the first responsibility in the party as co-convener of the legal cell of Delhi BJP, four years after the passing away of my mother,” she added.

As far as dynasty politics is concerned, Bansuri Swaraj said she deserves the same opportunities as anyone else.

Politics should not be forbidden for me just because my mother was a public representative, she said.

“It would have been dynasty politics had I owned the party and become its head and a top contender just after joining. But the equality of opportunity is justified for all whether it’s Sushma Swaraj’s daughter or anyone else,” she said.

Bansuri said her parents invested much of their time in her to ensure that she achieved her potential.

“I learnt everything from my mom and dad. When you are the only child, you become a project for your parents. They really want to invest themselves in you. I think they really give their best,” she said, adding, there was “no pressure” on her.

“The whole aspect of her stature and legacy, I think is something that weighs on other peoples’ minds. I am not even trying to be her imitation as that would be the greatest disservice to her memory.

“She invested so much in me not so that I become a copy of her. She wanted me to be the best version of myself,” she said.

“I would be a fool to try to fill her shoes. There can only be one Sushma Swaraj. However, I would say it is my endeavour not to do anything that hurts her repute,” she added.

Bansuri recalled how her mother made it a point to accompany her to the pick-up point of the school bus every morning and be present at the drop-off point every afternoon.

“She was an amazing mom, really amazing. She was there at all annual day events of the school – even when I played an orange or a tree,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj, a BJP stalwart who served as the Delhi chief minister and the Minister of External Affairs, was a popular leader with a distinct style of speech that endeared her to party workers and supporters. She died in August 2019.

Sharing the story behind her name, she said her mother was a devotee of Lord Krishna and used to say that a ‘bansuri’ or a flute was “dearest” to him.

“Bansuri was always taken care of by Radha rani or Lord Krishna himself, she used to say. My father wanted me to be named after some musical instrument. So, they decided to name me Bansuri,” she said.

Despite her mother being a politician, there was a rule in the house that no discussions over politics shall be held at the dinner table, Bansuri Swaraj said.

“My grandfather and I often dined together and he used to talk to me about nationalism, life, wisdom, and religion. Politics was never discussed at home. It was neither a part of our dinner nor breakfast table conversations,” she said.

She, however, was “very aware” of the happenings in the country as it was mandatory to read a newspaper every morning before going to school.

“My dadu (grandfather) would sit with me with his tea and I sipped milk and together we used to go through newspapers,” she said.

Asked if Sushma Swaraj wanted her to be in politics, Bansuri Swaraj said, “We never talked about it. We only spoke about my career as a lawyer.”

Talking about the May 25 Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, Bansuri Swaraj said the hectic campaigning has left her “sleep deprived” but the daily chats with her father and listening to music help her unwind.

“These days the one thing that I crave is sleep. I am quite sleep-deprived,” she said.

Swaraj is one of the two women candidates fielded by the BJP in Delhi. The party is aiming to sweep all seven seats in the national capital for the third time in a row.

The Aam Aadmi Party is fighting the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat as part of its seat-sharing deal with the Congress. It has fielded Somnath Bharti from the seat.

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