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Sheila Dikshit passes away: Delhi govt announces 2-day mourning; Cremation at 2.30 pm today

By Anuj Cariappa
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New Delhi, July 20: Former Delhi Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away on Saturday. She was 81-years-old. Dikshit is said to passed away due to a cardiac arrest. She was admitted to Escorts Hospital in Delhi this morning.

She was serving as president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee since January 10, 2019.

Longest serving Delhi CM and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passes away

The veteran Congress leader's body has been taken to her residence in Delhi's Nizamuddin area from the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in Okhla. Her last rites will be performed on Sunday morning.

Her body will be kept at her residence for people to pay their respects before being taken to the Congress headquarters in the morning. It will be kept at the party headquarters for final respects before her last rites at performed at 2.30 pm tomorrow at Nigam Bodh ghat.

The Delhi government has declared at 2-day state mourning for Sheila Dikshit's death, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told news agency ANI.

She was the longest serving Chief Minister of Delhi, serving for a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013.

She was one of the tallest politicians in Delhi's political scene. Diskshit was respected across party lines and was a soft spoken, but yet assertive person. She was one of the most credible Congress leaders not only in Delhi politics, but also across political spectrum.

Diskhit, a Miranda House alumni, had almost taken a political retirement of sorts after her three sucessive CM tenures ended. But, the Congress called her back to manage the affairs of Delhi Congress which was witnessing a turmoil.

She was a popular leader and administered the national capital very well given that rules that apply to government in Delhi are different from other states.

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Dikshit led Congress party to three consecutive electoral victories in Delhi. She also served as Kerala Governor for sometime. She was a stalwart and considered a dignified politician who worked with many generations of Gandhi family.

Sheila Dikshit's life in brief:

She was born, Sheila Kapoor in a Punjab family. She was born on March 31, 1938, in Kapurthala. She was educated at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in history from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi.

In the early 1970s, she was chairperson of the Young Women's Association and was instrumental in the setting up two of the most successful hostels for working women in Delhi. During the period between 1984 and 1989, she represented Kannauj parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh. As a member of Parliament, she served on the Estimates Committee of Lok Sabha.

In the 1998 parliamentary elections, Dikshit was defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party's Lal Bihari Tiwari in East Delhi constituency. Later, Dikshit became Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998. She served for nearly 15 years as the Chief Minister of Delhi until 2013.

Dikshit was married to Vinod Dikshit, son of independence activist and former West Bengal Governor Uma Shankar Dikshit.

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