By SM.21 Jul, 2019
NEW DELHI: Political leaders and well-wishers, including leaders from the Congress"s rival BJP, came to three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit"s home in south Delhi this morning to pay their respects, as the veteran Congress leader was cremated at a state funeral. She had died of a cardiac arrest on Saturday at age 81.
Her body was taken to the Congress headquarters in central Delhi, from where the funeral procession moved to Nigam Bodh Ghat, on the banks of the Yamuna, around.
BJP"s Sushma Swaraj and LK Advani, and National Conference"s Omar Abdullah were among the leaders who came to the Nizamuddin home of the former Delhi Chief Minister.
Before her body was taken out, inside the airy home with a spacious lawn, people walked in silence as they gave their respects to Sheila Dikshit.
The Delhi government vehicle that is carrying her body has white flowers hanging from the chassis and a large smiling portrait of the veteran leader pinned above the front windshield.
At the Congress headquarters, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh offered their last tributes as the funeral procession prepared to move on to Nigam Bodh Ghat.
"She was a great support for me. She became almost an elder sister and a friend. This is a big loss for the Congress party. I will always remember her," Mrs Gandhi told news agency ANI this afternoon.
Rahul Gandhi is in the US and has offered his condolences on phone to Sheila Dikshit"s son, Sandeep Dikshit.
The Delhi government has declared a two-day state mourning for Sheila Dikshit"s death, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.
Sheila Dikshit was admitted to Fortis Escorts hospital in a critical condition on Saturday. She died at 3.55 pm on Saturday, her family members said. 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," Fortis said in a statement.
Condolences have poured in for the veteran Congress leader from across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted their condolences.
"Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi"s development. Condolences to her family and supporters. Om Shanti," PM Modi tweeted.
Sheila Dikshit had served as Delhi"s chief minister for three consecutive terms between 1998 and 2013. She was succeeded by Aam Aadmi Party"s Arvind Kejriwal. After her stint as Delhi chief minister, she went to Kerala"s as the Governor in 2014, but resigned in just six months.
Born in Punjab"s Kapurthala, Sheila Dikshit was credited with numerous people-friendly programmes.