New Delhi: The excitement of the photographers and camera colleagues at Parliament's main entrance just before noon was akin to Budget Day when everyone waits for the Finance Minister's arrival.
- Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was in hospital, had kidney transplant
- Lok Sabha greets her with claps as she returns to House
- 'Nice to hear your powerful voice,' Speaker says about her speech
But today, the wait was for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, making her first public appearance in over three months after she underwent a kidney transplant in early December. Dressed in a green silk saree and a matching jacket, Ms Swaraj was greeted in Parliament by her ministerial colleague Uma Bharti.
As she walked into the Lok Sabha, she was greeted by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Opposition Leader Malikkarjun Kharge. And almost instantly, the entire House clapped, a warm gesture of welcome for one of the most articulate members of the Lok Sabha.
"Thank you Madam, Kharge-ji. I want to thank the entire House for their good wishes. It is because of your blessings and my faith in Krishna that I have completely recovered and returned to be here," said Ms Swaraj, looking a bit overwhelmed.
The Foreign Minister, 65, then presented the government's stand on the recent shooting in Kansas of Hyderabad techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla and the rising concern over hate crimes against Indians in the United States.
"The other day, I was watching the Lok Sabha debate on hate crimes against Indians on TV. Kharge-ji and CPM's Mohammed Salim-ji wanted to know why our government was silent. I want to make it clear this government never keeps quiet when anyone of our people is in trouble," she asserted.
She explained that despite a hectic campaigning schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made repeated inquiries about Mr Kuchibhotla's family. She said she spoke to Mr Kuchibhotla's father and wife Sunaina, whose email, thanking the Indian embassy for assistance, she read out loud to the House.
Ms Swaraj, known for her command over multiple languages, ended her speech in Punjabi to convey how she spoke to the father of another Indian-American who was the target of an attempted robbery.
The Lok Sabha Speaker summed up the mood in the House when she said,"It was good to hear your powerful voice once again resonate here."