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From reluctant politician to longest serving CM of Delhi, who is Sheila Dixit

By Shreya
|

New Delhi, July 20: Sheila Dikshit, a well-known figure in Indian politics, died on Saturday in New Delhi. She was 81. Being the fierce leader and a powerful administrator, Dixit has a record of leading Congress to three consecutive victories in New Delhi constituency in the Legislative Assembly of Delhi.

Her foray into politics began after she was married to Late Vinod Dikshit, son of Late Uma Shankar Dikshit, a renowned activist during India's independence struggle. Dixit's husband Vinod was as an officer in the Indian Administrative Service.

File photo of Sheila Dikshit

It was former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who acknowledged Dikshit's administrative skills and nominated her as a representative for the Indian delegation of the United Nations Commission.

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

A warm and affable politician, she was a loyalist of the Gandhi family. She was handpicked by Rajiv Gandhi to be part of his council of ministers after he became the prime minister in 1984. She represented the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat then.

For her, politics was not only about jousting for power but also about bonding with people and getting re-energised in the process. Born in Kapurthala in Punjab to a non-political family in 1938, Dikshit did her schooling from Convent of Jesus and Mary School in the capital and graduated from Miranda House, University of Delhi.

A warm and affable politician, she was a loyalist of the Gandhi family. She was handpicked by Rajiv Gandhi to be part of his council of ministers after he became the prime minister in 1984. She represented the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat then.

For her, politics was not only about jousting for power but also about bonding with people and getting re-energised in the process. Born in Kapurthala in Punjab to a non-political family in 1938, Dikshit did her schooling from Convent of Jesus and Mary School in the capital and graduated from Miranda House, University of Delhi.

As the longest serving woman chief minister who ruled the city state for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013, Dikshit ushered in an era of all-round development that transformed Delhi into a world class capital. She also initiated green reforms in public transport sector successfully accomplishing the shift from polluting vehicles to a CNG based fleet.

Known for a string of development works throughout her 15-year stint as Delhi chief minister, Dikshit fastened the flagship Delhi Metro project, oversaw the creation of a network of flyovers in a city stressed with high population density and heavy traffic and also led the phasing out of the killer blue line buses, that had claimed several lives on the roads.

Her largely glorious legacy in Delhi was, however, marred by the CWG scam as the BJP accused her of large scale corruption in several development contracts approved to meet the 2010 Commonwealth Games deadlines. Dikshit's super political run in Delhi ended in 2013 at the hands of AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal who defeated her in assembly polls. Kejriwal, the product of the anti- corruption movement led by Anna Hazare succeeded Dikshit as Delhi chief minister.

She has been honoured with several awards such as-- 'Best Chief Minister of India', by Journalist Association of India in 2008, 'Politician of the Year' by NDTV in 2009, and 'Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2013' by the ALL Ladies League for Outstanding Public Service in 2013.

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