Indian Politics

Sheila Dikshit: The Longest Serving Woman Chief Minister

Three times former Chief Minister of Delhi and the longest serving woman CM, Sheila Dikshit passed away at the age of 81 years in Delhi on 20th July, 2019. She was admitted to Escorts hospital in a critical condition on Saturday morning owing to a cardiac arrest.

A team of well-qualified and multi-disciplinary doctors performed resuscitative measures on her after which her condition stabilized temporary. But unfortunately, she had another cardiac arrest and despite all efforts and measures, she passed away at 3:55pm.

Sheila Dikshit was the longest serving CM of Delhi. She was elected back to back for three terms from 1998 to 2013. She was the real force between several key infrastructural projects in Delhi including the Delhi metro. Under her leadership of the state government for 15 years, Delhi took the tag of modern city as the former CM shed the tag of outsider.

Born in 1938 in Kapurthala city of Punjab, she was married to Vinod Dikshit, an IAS officer. She was also a part of Rajiv Gandhi’s Council of Ministers as she was always in close circles of Gandhi family.

During her regime from 1998 to 2013 as CM of Delhi, she was the driving force in the transport sector from its shift from polluting vehicles to CNG and greener Delhi. She also phased out the killer Blue Line buses from Delhi roads. During her stint as CM she also oversaw development of several flyovers which helped in easing out of traffic in densely populated areas of Delhi. Delhi metro also saw its development at peak during her tenure. In simple words, she played a huge in making Delhi what it is now.

Her political career is however scarred with corruption allegations by BJP and AAP. She was accused of large scale corruption during 2010 Commonwealth Games. According to accusations, there were huge irregularities in several development projects carried out to meet deadlines of CWG games.

Sheila Dikshit tenure as CM came to a stop when Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP defeated her in assembly polls in 2013. She also presided as Governor of Kerala for 2013-2014. She was brought back by Congress before Lok Sabha polls as Delhi Congress Chief. Although she lost her seat to BJP MP Manoj Tiwary, she managed to push AAP to the third spot in Delhi.

As soon as the news of her sad demise hit the political corridors, condolences and support to family started pouring in. President Ram Nath Koving, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were the first among many to express grief and offer words of condolences on the social media. No matter what, Sheila Dikshit always had a tall figure when it came to politics.

She started her political career in 1970. She was elected as MP of Kannauj in UP in 1984 which also marked her rise in the political circles and history of India.

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Sudhanshu Malik

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