Veteran Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, the longest serving chief minister of Delhi, died on Saturday on the age of 81 after struggling a cardiac arrest. Ms Dikshit, who additionally served as Governor of Kerala, was credited with remodeling the nationwide capital by constructing roads and flyovers, enhancing public transportation and serving to make Delhi a much less polluted metropolis.
Amongst her many contributions throughout her three phrases as chief minister between 1998 and 2013 had been the introduction of CNG-powered public buses (and the phasing out of “killer” Blueline buses), extending the Delhi Metro, setting up practically 90 flyovers to raised connectivity and creating schooling and well being infrastructure.
A seasoned politician and dignified chief, Sheila Dikshit was additionally a gracious and optimistic determine, who was as soon as praised by former BJP chief and prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a “Teflon-coated politician as a result of nothing destructive ever sticks”.
The measure of that grace and dignity was mirrored within the many condolence messages acquired on information of her dying, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose BJP dealt Ms Dikshit and the Congress a crushing blow within the common election – calling her a “heat and affable individual”.
Ms Dikshit, who made her political debut as a parliamentarian from the Kannauj seat in Uttar Pradesh in 1984, shared a robust rapport with the Gandhi household, notably Sonia Gandhi.
In a 2009 interview with NDTV, Ms Dikshit had described the previous Congress president as somebody she “admired tremendously and knew, instinctively, the proper factor to do”.
That relationship was what helped her grow to be president of the faction-ridden Delhi Congress in Might 1998. Six months later she led the get together to victory in meeting elections. A key battleground was the excessive worth of onions. The Congress claimed a powerful 52 of 70 seats and Sheila Dikshit served the primary of her three consecutive phrases as chief minister.
Outdoors of Delhi, Ms Dikshit additionally served because the Governor of Kerala in 2014 however resigned after six months following a stand-off with the BJP authorities over gubernatorial appointments.
She was additionally briefly the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 UP meeting polls, however stepped again from the function after a tie-up with the Samajwadi Occasion.
After withdrawing from the UP polls, it appeared Sheila Dikshit had known as time on her profession. However her relationship to the Gandhi household – she additionally served as a minister within the Rajiv Gandhi cupboard – led to her being handed management of the Delhi Congress in January.
Occasion colleague Ajay Maken had simply stepped down, citing ailing well being, and the Congress turned to Ms Dikshit within the hope she may script an inconceivable victory after poor ends in the 2015 meeting ballot.
Sadly, she was unable to take action. The wave of help for PM Modi was too robust and in-fighting inside the Congress an excessive amount of. The get together misplaced all seven seats to the BJP; Ms Dikshit misplaced hers to BJP counterpart Manoj Tiwari.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra mourned greater than the lack of a celebration chief.” I will miss her sensible counsel, her candy smile and the heat with which she would hug me each time we met,” Priyanka Gandhi wrote.
A graduate in Historical past from Miranda Home, College of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit’s entry to politics was unintended; she had married the late Vinod Dikshit and served as an assistant to his father, Uma Shankar Dikshit, a Uttar Pradesh Congress chief who served as a minister in Indira Gandhi’s cupboard.
Sheila Dikshit was additionally recognized for her ardour for driving. In a 2009 interview to NDTV, she spoke about how she was as soon as stopped by the police for driving effectively above the pace restrict within the nationwide capital. “I used to be driving very quick from Karol Bagh to Chanakya Puri when a policeman stopped me and advised me I used to be driving above 60 kmph. I corrected him and advised him, no, I used to be doing 90 kmph,” she mentioned, smiling.
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