Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has passed away at the age of 81 today. It has been reported that the Congress stalwart died after a prolonged illness in Delhi’s Fortis Escorts heart institute.
Dikshit was the longest-serving Chief Minister of the national capital, who served Delhi for a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013. Earlier on January 10, 2019, she was appointed as president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
Dikshit was also declared as Chief Ministerial candidate for the Indian National Congress in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election, however, she later withdrew.
How Sheila Dikshit fell in love!
Dikshit was born in Punjab’s Kapurthala to a Punjabi Khatri family. Graduated with a Master of Arts degree in history from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi. She was married to Vinod Dikshit, son of independence activist and former West Bengal Governor Uma Shankar Dikshit.
Iron Lady of politics wrote openly about her love life. She told how he had to wait for 2 years to make the love of his life her partner. Sheila wrote about her love story that at a time when she was studying ancient Indian history, she met Vinod. He was his first and last love. In the book, she has written that Vinod was the most different among his 20 class students.
Sheila had written in the book that It is not that she fell in love at first sight. He was quite a bit different. My first impression was also different from that. Unlike Sheila, five feet and a half eleven inches long Vinod was very popular and good cricketer among beautiful, sympathetic companions.
Incidentally, both of them had mediated to resolve the love dispute of friends, but in the midst of that, Vinod and Sheila came close to each other.
Sheila has written that many times she could not even talk to Vinod as she was introvert and Vinod was open-minded, cheerful and extrovert. Sheila had a DTC bus ride with Vinod for a whole day to share the feelings of the heart and then had spent a long time with Vinod at the house of her aunt at Ferozshah Road.
Sheila mentioned in her book that Vinod had proposed for marriage at the bus itself. When he was about to give the final year exam, one day before in the 10 number bus at the Chandni Chowk, Vinod told Sheela that he was going to tell his mother that he has chosen a girl, so that he will get married. Sheila then said to Vinod that did you ask the girl about that? Then Vinod had said that no, but that girl is sitting in front of my seat in the bus.
Sheila has written that after a few days of this incident, she had told her parents about Vinod but they were apprehensive about marriage that Vinod is still a student, how will her family work? After this, the matter got a little cold.
Sheila worked at a nursery school of a friend’s mother in Motibag and Vinod started preparing for IAS exam. There was no meeting between the two for a long time. A year later, in 1959 Vinod was selected for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He had chosen the UP cadre.
Sheila has written in her book that Vinod used to come from the Brahmin family of Unnao. His father Umashankar Dixit (who used to call Dadaji) was a freedom fighter, a Hindi-speaking and high-paid person. When Vinod took her to meet him at a hotel in Janpath, she was quite nervous. However, Grandfather then had asked a lot of questions and had expressed his happiness at last.
He had said that she may have to wait for two weeks, two months or two years for marriage as he wanted to convince Vinod’s mother for inter-caste marriages. And in between two years passed and finally, on July 11, 1962, both of them got married.
Sheila Dikshit’s political career started gaining pace from 1984. From 1984-89, she was not only presenting the Kannauj parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh but was also represented India at United Nations Commission on Status of Women in the same period.
It was in 1998 when she defeated BJP’s Lal Bihari Tiwari in East Delhi and the constituency became Congress’ bastion since then. It was 1998 when she began her career as Delhi Chief Minister and also took on several assembly elections. She represented Gole Market assembly constituency in the 1998 and 2003 Assemble elections, and New Delhi constituency from 2008.
It was in 2013 state elections when Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal defeated her in the polls and replaced her as Chief Minister of the national capital.
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. She was appointed as the Governor of Kerala in March 2014, but was forced to resign five months later.