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Veteran Congress leader and three-times Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit passed away in Delhi following a cardiac arrest today (Saturday, April 20) at the age of 81 years.

Sheila Dikshit had been unwell for some time and was admitted to Escorts hospital a few days ago. She died at 3.55 pm.

The hospital, in a statement, said despite all resuscitative efforts, Sheila Dikshit died after a 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 3:55pm on 20th of July 2019,” the hospital said in a statement.

Dikshit was the chief minister of Delhi for three terms from 1998 to 2013: the longest serving Delhi CM, till the advent of Aam Aadmi Party.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, under her leadership, the Congress party managed to push AAP candidates on the third place in five of the seven seats in Delhi, besides registering growth in its vote share.

She was appointed president of the city unit in January this year after the incumbent Ajay Maken stepped down citing health issues.

Despite being an octagenarian, Dikshit led the party in Lok Sabha polls and herself contested against Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari from the North East Delhi seat. She lost by over 3.66 lakh votes.

President Ram Nath Kovind extended his condolences to the family of the Congress leader and said that her term was a period of momentous transformation for the capital.

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,” tweeted Modi.

“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,” the Congress tweeted.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he was “devastated” to hear the passing away of the veteran leader.

“I’m devastated to hear about passing away of Shiela Dikshit Ji, beloved daughter of Congress Party,with whom I shared a close personal bond. My condolences to her family&citizens of Delhi, whom she served selflessly as a 3 term CM,in this time of great grief,” Rahul said in his tweet.

“Just now got to know about extremely terrible news about the passing away of Sheila Dikshit ji. It’s a huge loss for Delhi & her contribution will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace,” tweeted Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Sheila Dikshit, after her stint as Delhi chief minister, was sworn in as Kerala’s Governor in 2004, but resigned in just six months.

She had started off as a reluctant politician, and cut her political teeth assisting her father-in-law, a veteran Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a minster in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet.

Sheila Dikshit first became an MP from the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh in 1984. She was a close associated of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and a minister in his cabinet.

Born in Punjab’s Kapurthala, Sheila Dikshit was credited with numerous people-friendly programmes.

Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit is also a Congress leader who was a parliamentarian from Delhi. She lived in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

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