Sheila Dikshit – From teacher to Delhi CM

by
Kamna Arora

Sheila Dikshit, the three-time Chief Minister of Delhi, is all set to fight electoral battle to retain her seat. Dikshit represents the New Delhi constituency in the Legislative Assembly of Delhi.

Born in Kapurthala, Punjab, on March 31, 1938, Dikshit studied at Convent of Jesus and Mary School and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in history from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi.

Her husband, late Sh Vinod Dikshit, hailed from Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh. Her son Sandeep Dikshit is currently a Member of Parliament. She has one daughter, Latika Syed.

She was a teacher before she plunged into politics by default. Dikshit’s administrative skills were acknowledged by former prime minister Indira Gandhi. Dikshit’s father-in-law Uma Shankar Dikshit was a veteran freedom fighter and one of the close aides of Indira Gandhi. It was Indira Gandhi who nominated Sheila Dikshit to the Indian delegation at the UN Commission on Status of Women. Notably, Dikshit is the Congress’ longest serving woman chief minister.

During 1984-1989, she represented Kannauj Parliamentary Constituency of Uttar Pradesh. Dikshit also chaired the Implementation Committee for Commemoration of Forty Years of India's Independence and Jawaharlal Nehru centenary.

The former Member of Parliament from Kannauj, Dikshit has served on the 'Estimates Committee' of Lok Sabha. The lady represented India at the UN Commission on Status of Woman from 1984-1989. In 1998, Dikshit led Congress to victory in the Delhi Assembly Elections. She has been Delhi CM since then.

She also served as a Union minister during 1986–89. In 1990, she, along with her colleagues, was jailed in Uttar Pradesh for more than 20 days when she led a movement against the atrocities being committed on women.

In 2009, Dikshit was subjected to criticism for granting parole to Manu Sharma, who is accused of murdering Jessica Lal. The Delhi CM defended her decision to sign the parole papers, declaring nothing "illegal or unlawful" was done in extending the benefit to Sharma. The Delhi High Court, however, later criticised her decision.

Dikshit is credited with doing a lot of development work in New Delhi. Some of her achievements include the addition of Delhi Metro to the national capital territory’s public transport system. During her government’s tenure, Delhi saw a huge infrastructure boom including flyovers and new roads, helping her gain an edge over her competitors. She is also credited by her party members for having handled several factions in the party’s Delhi unit effectively.

Dikshit is said to be the person who takes care of everything in detail. She is punctual and wants tasks to be performed within a time frame. The Delhi CM wakes up early and begins her day with yoga and meditation. The morning activities help her work indefatigably for 14 to 15 hours every day. Known as a movie buff, Dikshit takes out time to watch them, even during frenzied poll schedules.

Delhi polls are schedule for December 04 and results will be out on December 08.

First Published: Thursday, November 07, 2013, 13:11


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