New Delhi: Three-time Chief Minister of Delhi and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit died here after a long illness on Saturday, party officials said. She was 81.
Dikshit, who had been keeping ill for a long time, was admitted at the Escorts hospital in Delhi on Saturday morning. She died at around 1530 hrs, party sources said.
A veteran in Delhi politics, Dikshit served as Chief Minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013.
As chief minister, she is credited with having changed the face of Delhi during her term as CM, and introducing initiatives like the seamless change from diesel to CNG in public transport.
The veteran leader was also very close to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son and party president Rahul Gandhi.
As soon as news of her death began to spread, condolences began pouring in.
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President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the Congress leader.
''Sad to hear of the passing of Smt Sheila Dikshit, former Chief Minister of Delhi and a senior political figure,'' Mr. Kovind said in a tweet.
''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,'' he wrote.
Prime Minister Modi expressed condolence and said she was blessed with a warm and affable personality.
''Deeply saddened by the demise of Sheila Dikshit Ji. Blessed with a warm and affable personality,'' he wrote.
She made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi's development, Mr. Modi wrote and extended his condolences to her family and supporters.
Condoling the death of Dikshi, party president Mr. Gandhi said, ''I'm devastated to hear about the passing away of Shiela 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.''
"We regret to hear of the passing of Smt Sheila Dikshit. Lifelong congresswoman and as three times 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 said in its message.