Former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit passed away on Saturday at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute after suffering a cardiac arrest. The veteran leader and head of the Delhi unit of the Congress was 81.
The last rites of the three-time Chief Minister will be conducted on Sunday at the Nigam Bodh ghat. Several leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, paid homage to Ms. Dikshit at her Nizamuddin East residence.
Congress leaders said Ms Dikshit’s body would be kept at the residence till Sunday morning for citizens to pay their last respects and will be taken to the party office before the cremation.
The Delhi government has announced a two-day official mourning as a mark of respect for the longest serving Chief Minister of the Capital. Ms. Dikshit served as Chief Minister for 15 years from 1998-2013 and was subsequently appointed the Governor of Kerala.
Politically active until her death, she had unsuccessfully contested the recent Lok Sabha elections from North-East Delhi. Earlier, as a legislator, she represented the New Delhi constituency in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha.
A capital transformed
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Modi, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who condoled her death. “Her term in office was a period of momentous transformation for the capital for which she will be remembered,” tweeted President Kovind in his tribute.
Mr. Modi described her as someone who was “blessed with a warm and affable personality who made notable contribution towards Delhi’s development’.
Calling her a “beloved daughter of the Congress party”, Mr. Gandhi said he was devastated by the news.
“I’m devastated to hear about the passing away of Sheila Dikshit Ji, a beloved daughter of the Congress Party, with whom I shared a close personal bond. My condolences to her family & the citizens of Delhi, whom she served selflessly as a 3 term CM, in this time of great grief,” he tweeted.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a letter to her son, Sandeep Dikshit, described her as the someone who “holds the distinction of being the only woman chief minister in India who led her party to three consecutive victories in Assembly elections”.
Mr. Kejriwal said her death was a huge loss for Delhi and her contribution would always be remembered.