Former Delhi Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away on Saturday. She was 81.
She was admitted to Fortis Escorts hospital a few days ago after a cardiac ailment. She died at 3.55 pm after a cardiac arrest and later her death was confirmed by her secretary PS Tripathi.
Dikshit was undergoing treatment for heart ailment for the past many years. She underwent angioplasty in November 2012. She was regularly treated at Fortis Escorts Heart institute. In 2018, she had a heart surgery in University Hospital in Lille, France. She was admitted to Fortis on 19th July 2019 for cardiac arrhythmia and was put on ventilator.
Mrs Dikshit was recently appointed president of the Delhi Congress in January after Ajay Maken stepped down citing health issues. Sheila Dikshit had served as Delhi's chief minister for three consecutive terms between 1998 and 2013. She was succeeded by Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal. Sheila Dikshit lost to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal by 25,864 votes in the assembly elections in 2013.
Sheila Dikshit was credited for Delhi's growing infrastructure including roads and flyovers, a less polluted city, better public transport system as well as development on the health and educational fronts.
Sheila Dikshit, after her stint as Delhi chief minister, was sworn in as Kerala's Governor in 2004, but resigned in just six months. She had started off as a reluctant politician, and cut her political teeth assisting her father-in-law, a veteran Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a minster in Indira Gandhi's cabinet.
Born in Punjab's Kapurthala, Mrs Dikshit was credited with numerous people-friendly programmes. She studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi and graduated with an MA degree in History from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi.
Sheila Dikshit represented the Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. As a member of Parliament, Sheila Dikshit served on the Estimates Committee of Lok Sabha and also chaired the Implementation Committee for Commemoration of Forty Years of India's Independence and Jawaharlal Nehru centenary.
The former Delhi chief minister also represented India at the United Nations Commission on Status of Women from 1984-1989. She was nominated for the same by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for her administrative skills.
She also served as a Minister of State (MoS) for Parliamentary Affairs in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet from 1986 to 1989. Sheila Dikshit later took over the responsibilities of a Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office.
Dikshit was married to Vinod Dikshit, son of independence activist and former West Bengal Governor Uma Shankar Dikshit, who came from Ugu village of Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. He was as an officer in the Indian Administrative Service. He died due to a heart attack in a train journey with his wife and children.
Dikshit was the mother to two children including a son, Sandeep Dikshit, who is a former Member of Parliament of the 15th Lok Sabha from East Delhi. and a daughter, Latika Syed.