Indians offer kidneys to ailing minister

NEW DELHI • Scores of Indians offered to donate their kidneys to ailing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is suffering from kidney failure and is on the lookout for a suitable donor.

Those who offered their kidneys cut across party lines and came from different social and religious backgrounds, and even included Muslims, whose scholars have differing opinions on organ donation.

"I am a BSP supporter and a Muslim, bt I want 2 donate my kidney 4 u... u r like my mother figure," Mr Mujib Ansarihe wrote on Twitter, referring to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The minister is from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"Thank you very much brothers. I am sure (a) kidney has no religious labels," the 64-year-old minister replied.

"Some friends have also offered their kidneys for my transplant. I have no words to express my deep sense of gratitude towards them,'' she said in another tweet.

Ms Swaraj has been sidelined by poor health on a number of occasions since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP swept to power in 2014, Reuters reported.

There has been no announcement that she will formally delegate her duties while she is unwell, the news agency said.

Ms Swaraj revealed in a tweet last Wednesday that she was undergoing dialysis for kidney failure at the All India Institute of Medical Science, a top government hospital.

"I am undergoing tests for a kidney transplant. Lord Krishna will bless," she wrote.

The announcement raised questions over how long she can stay in the job. Her team was recently reinforced by veteran journalist M. J. Akbar, who has travelled extensively since being named minister of state, said Reuters.

That has left the other minister of state, former army chief of staff V. K. Singh, to take the lead on ensuring the security of Indian citizens abroad.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 20, 2016, with the headline 'Indians offer kidneys to ailing minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe