NEW DELHI: Former Delhi Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit died at the age of 81 on Saturday. The veteran Congress leader was not keeping well for some time and died of cardiac arrest at the Fortis Escorts Hospital here.
The former Delhi chief minister was on Saturday morning admitted to the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in a critical condition.
The Fortis Escorts Heart Institute issued a statement in which it said, ''Mrs Sheila Dikshit was brought in the morning on 20th July 2019 to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, New Delhi, 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 the advanced resuscitative measures. Her condition stabilised temporarily. However, she had another cardiac arrest and despite all the resuscitative efforts, passed away at 3:55 PM on 20th of July 2019.''
The three-time Delhi chief minister had cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and had to be immediately put on the ventilator, according to the doctors who attended her.
Sheila Dikshit's body will be kept at her house in Nizamuddin, New Delhi so that her supporters and well-wishers can pay their tributes. Her last rites will be performed at 2.30 PM at Nigam Bodh Ghat on Sunday.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced a two-day state mourning as a mark of respect to the departed former chief minister of Delhi.
Top Congress leadership, including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, arrived to pay tribute to the former Delhi chief minister at her residence in Nizamuddin. BJP leader Vijay Goel was also among those who paid tribute to the late Congress politician. A large number of Congres party workers have gathered outside Dikshit's residence and are shouting 'long live Sheila Dikshit,' Sheila Dikshit Zindabad' slogans.
Several top political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, mourned the passing away of the maverick politician and expressed their deepest condolences to her family.
Delhi Congress leader Haroon Yusuf was first among the political leaders to confirm her demise.
Expressing grief over her death, Congress leader Haroon Yusuf said, "She (Sheila Ji) was loved and admired by all...she did a lot for water conservation, her ideology will be taken forward by the party. Acted as a backbone to Gandhi-Nehru family. Rahul Gandhi also respected her a lot.''
In his condolence message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, ''Deeply saddened by the demise of Sheila Dikshit Ji. Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi’s development. Condolences to her family and supporters. Om Shanti."
Along with his tweet, the PM also shared an old picture of him with the veteran Congress leader.
Deeply saddened by the demise of Sheila Dikshit Ji. Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi’s development. Condolences to her family and supporters. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/jERrvJlQ4X
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 20, 2019
The Indian National Congress said, ''We regret to hear of the passing of Sheila Dikshit. Lifelong Congresswoman and as three-time CM of Delhi, she transformed the face of Delhi. Our condolences to her family and friends. Hope they find strength in this time of grief."
We regret to hear of the passing of Smt Sheila Dikshit. Lifelong congresswoman and as three time CM of Delhi she transformed the face of Delhi. Our condolences to her family and friends. Hope they find strength in this time of grief. pic.twitter.com/oNHy23BpAL
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 20, 2019
In his immediate reaction to her demise, Rahul Gandhi said that he was ''devastated'' to hear about the passing away of Sheila Dikshit Ji. He described her as a ''beloved daughter of the Congress 'party'' with whom he shared a close personal bond.
I’m devastated to hear about the passing away of Sheila Dikshit Ji, a beloved daughter of the Congress Party, with whom I shared a close personal bond.
My condolences to her family & the citizens of Delhi, whom she served selflessly as a 3 term CM, in this time of great grief.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 20, 2019
President Ramnath Kovind also expressed grief over the demise of three-time Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.
Sad to hear of the passing of Smt Sheila Dikshit, former Chief Minister of Delhi and a senior political figure. Her term in office was a period of momentous transformation for the capital for which she will be remembered. Condolences to her family and associates #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 20, 2019
Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his condolences for the family members of Sheila Dikshit.
दिल्ली की पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री श्रीमती शीला दीक्षित जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुखी हूँ। मैं उनके परिजनों और समर्थकों के प्रति अपनी संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूँ। ईश्वर दु:ख की इस घड़ी में उनके परिवार को शक्ति दे और दिवंगत आत्मा को चिर शांति प्रदान करे ।
ॐ शांति शांति शांति
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 20, 2019
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal said, ''Just now got to know about the extremely terrible news about the passing away of 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.''
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
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 20, 2019
Known for her powerful organisational skills, Sheila Dikshit had recently contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Delhi's North East Delhi constituency and lost to actor-turned-politician and BJP candidate Manoj Tiwari by a margin of over 3 lakh votes.
Dikshit was also the longest-serving Chief Minister of Delhi, having served in office for 15 years from 1998.
The 81-year-old politician was appointed as the president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee earlier this year in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Born in Punjab's Kapurthala, Dikshit was credited with numerous people-friendly programmes during her tenure as Delhi's chief minister.