Former chief minister of Delhi and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away on Saturday. She was admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute on Saturday morning in a critical state due to a cardiac problem.
Sheila Dikshit was the chief minister of Delhi for 15 years and possibly one of the longest-serving chief ministers of the Congress.
Fortis Escorts Heart Institute said in a statement that Dikshit was brought to the hospital in a critical condition with cardiac arrest.
“A multi-disciplinary team of doctors, led by Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, carried out advanced resuscitative measures. Her condition stabilised temporarily. However, she had another cardiac arrest and despite all resuscitative efforts, passed away at 3:55pm,” the statement said.
The 80-year-old Congress leader had undergone heart surgery in France last year. Dr Seth had advised that the procedure be performed at the University Hospital in Lille, France, under the care of Dr Thomas Modine.
Sources said Dikshit was undergoing treatment at Fortis Escorts hospital under the supervision of Dr Seth for the past few years. She had undergone angioplasty in November 2012 and was also treated for infection some time ago.
Dikshit had played a decisive role in the three-term Congress government in Delhi. She had managed to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for consecutive terms, but lost power to the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal in December 2013.
The veteran politician was also defeated by Kejriwal in a straight electoral fight in the New Delhi constituency. “Just now got to know about the extremely terrible news about the passing away of Mrs Sheila Dikshit ji. It is a huge loss for Delhi and her contribution will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace,” Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal said.
After her electoral defeat in Delhi, Dikshit became the Governor of Kerala in March 2014 and was later made the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. However, she withdrew from the electoral contest after the Congress joined hands with the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Dikshit was born in Kapurthala, Punjab, but her schooling and college occurred in Delhi. She completed her masters in history from Delhi University. The former Delhi chief minister was born on 31 March 1938.
She started her political career in 1984 when she became a Member of Parliament (MP) from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. She represented the constituency again in 1989 and was a Union minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government between 1986 and 1989. Her first stint as chief minister of Delhi started in 1998 when she defeated the BJP.
Dikshit’s entry into Indian politics was accidental and also because of her family connections. She was the daughter-in-law of late Uma Shankar Dikshit, a noted activist who had fought against the British during the independence struggle. When Uma Shankar Dikshit became a Union Cabinet minister in the Indira Gandhi government, Sheila Dikshit would often help her father-in-law. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi recognised Sheila Dikshit’s political and administrative acumen and made her a delegate of the United Nations commission on the issue of status of women.