Sheila Dikshit occasionally anglicised Dixit (31 March 1938 – 20 July 2019), was an Indian politician who was one of the longest-serving chief ministers of Delhi, as well as the longest-serving female chief minister of any Indian state, serving for a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013. Dikshit led Congress party to three consecutive electoral victories in Delhi. In the December 2013 elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly, Dikshit was defeated in New Delhi constituency by Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, who replaced her as Delhi’s chief minister.
Subsequently, she was sworn in as Governor of Kerala on 11 March 2014. However, she resigned on 25 August 2014. She had been declared a chief ministerial candidate for the Indian National Congress in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election; however she later withdrew. She was appointed as president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee on 10 January 2019.
Early Life and Education
Sheila Kapoor was born on 31 March 1938 in Kapurthala, Punjab, into a Punjabi Khatri family.Her father’s name was Sanjay Kapoor. 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cruised to a landslide victory in the poll.
The Indian leader paid tribute to Ms Dikshit after news broke of her death.
“Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi’s development,” Mr Modi said in a tweet. “Condolences to her family and supporters.”
India’s President Ram Nath Kovind also shared his condolences.
“Sad to hear of the passing of [Ms Dikshit],” he said. “Her term in office was a period of momentous transformation for the capital for which she will be remembered.”
Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress Party leader, said he was “devastated” by the news of her death. “She served selflessly,” he said.
Ms Dikshit entered politics after her husband’s death and became an MP for the first time in 1984.
“The first speech I made my legs and hands were all shaking. I was so nervous,” she told the BBC in an interview in 2006.
“Even now, I am in politics but I don’t really understand the tricks of it,” she said. “Neither am I interested.”
Dikshit was married to Vinod Dikshit, son of independence activist and former West Bengal governor Uma Shankar Dikshit. He was an officer in the Indian Administrative Service.
Dikshit was the mother of two children: a son, Sandeep Dikshit, who is a former member of Parliament of the 15th Lok Sabha from East Delhi,and a daughter, Latika Syed.
Dikshit underwent angioplasty in November 2012. In 2018, she had heart surgery in University Hospital in Lille, France.
Awards and Recognition
- 2008 Best Chief Minister of India, by Journalist Association of India
- 2009 Politician of the Year by NDTV
- 2010 Dara Shikoh award by Indo-Iran Society
- 2013 Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2013 by ALL Ladies League for Outstanding Public Service.
Dikshit was admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute on 19 July 2019 for cardiac arrhythmia and was put on a ventilator within a few moments of her admission. Her condition stabilized temporarily, however she did not recover from multiple cardiac arrests and her condition worsened during the following period. She later died at 3:55 pm on 20 July 2019, at the age of 81.
The Delhi government announced a two-day mourning period on her death, and accorded her a state funeral.