20 July 2019
New Delhi: The calm in Nizamuddin (East), a quiet neighbourhood in the heart of New Delhi, was suddenly broken by a stream of visitors headed towards B-2, the house of one of the most prominent residents of this posh locality -- Sheila Dikshit.
The veteran Congress leader and former Delhi Chief Minister passed away on Saturday at a private hospital here following a cardiac arrest. She was 81.
As people with moist eyes gathered outside her residence, former President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, among others, drove in to pay their tributes.
An entire spectrum of the country's political leadership paid homage to Sheila Dikshit, Delhi's longest serving Chief Minister, who was remembered as a 'mother figure', 'banyan tree' and 'iron lady'.
"She made sure that women got their rights. She worked aggressively for women's rights and security. I have lost my mother," said a weeping Razia Sultana, a former Councillor of the Trans Yamuna area.
Jagdish Sharma, another Congress worker and Sheila Dikshit supporter, said that she was like a banyan tree which protected the Congress over the years.
Girish Agarwal, a friend of Sheila Dikshit's son Sandeep Dikshit and owner of the Bengali Sweets franchise, remembered her as an iron lady.
"Only two words could define madam -- iron lady. Only she could lay the infrastructure that Delhi has today. I have never seen a leader with such strong will power," Agarwal said.
The number of followers could be imagined by the fact that even at about 8 p.m. the queue to get inside the house was only getting longer.
Senior leaders such as Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Yashwant Sinha and Shashi Tharoor, among others, reached Dikshit's residence to offer their tributes.