Veteran Congress leader Sheila Dixit dies

Sheila Dixit

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi, July 20, 2019: Sheila Dixit, a product of a convent school who helped change the face of the Indian national capital, died on July 20. She was 81.

She died at 3:30 pm in Delhi’s Escorts Hospital where she was admitted earlier in the day. She has been ill for a long time.

Dikshit was Delhi chief minister for 15 years, until Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party ousted her in 2015.

Dixit, who served from 1998 to 2013, was the longest-serving chief minister of Delhi. According to the media reports, she had cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and had to put on the ventilator.

Sheila Dixit underwent heart surgery in France last year. Ashok Seth, chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart institute had advised her that the procedure be performed at University Hospital in Lille, France under the care of Doctor Thomas Modine.

She was born as Sheila Kapoor on March 31, 1938, in Kapurthala, Punjab into a Punjabi Khatri family. 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.

During 1984 and 1989, she represented Kannauj parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh. As a Member of Parliament, she served on the Estimates Committee of Lok Sabha. Dixit also chaired the Implementation Committee for Commemoration of Forty Years of India’s Independence and Jawaharlal Nehru centenary.

She represented India at United Nations Commission on Status of Women for five years (1984–1989). She also served as a federal during 1986–1989, first as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and later as a Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.

In Uttar Pradesh, she and her 82 colleagues were jailed in August 1990 for 23 days by the state government when she led a movement against the atrocities being committed on women. Earlier, in the early 1970s, she was chairperson of the Young Women’s Association and was instrumental in the setting up two of the most successful hostels for working women in Delhi. She was also the secretary of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

Dixit was married to Vinod Dixit, son of independence activist and former West Bengal Governor Uma Shankar Dixit, who came from Ugu village of Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. He was as an officer in the Indian Administrative Service. He died due to a heart attack in a train journey with his wife and children.

Dikshit was the mother to two children — son, Sandeep Dixit, who was a Member of the 15th Lok Sabha from East Delhi, and a daughter, Latika Syed.

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