Hundreds bid tearful adieu to Sheila Dikshit

The mortal remains of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit (PTI Photo)

Hundreds of Delhiites bid a tearful farewell to former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was cremated with full state honours on the banks of the Yamuna on Sunday.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were among those present at the Nigambodh Ghat where the mortal remains of the 81-year-old leader were consigned to flames in the CNG crematorium, installed by her during her tenure as chief minister.

The skies opened as the Dikshit's mortal remains were brought to the Nigambodh Ghat, on the banks of the Yamuna, in a flower-bedecked vehicle and amid slogans of 'Sheila Dikshit Amar Rahe'.

Leaders cutting across party lines, family members and well-wishers lined up to pay their respects before the final rites were performed.

Earlier, Sonia Gandhi remembered Sheila, a three-term Delhi chief minister, as a friend and an elder sister.

Her demise was a big loss to the Congress party, Sonia said.

BJP veterans L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and CPI general secretary D Raja visited Sheila's residence to pay their last respects.

Later, Sheila's body was brought to the AICC Headquarters where senior party leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, chief ministers Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, and Bhupesh Baghel and several others lined up to offer tributes.

“What she did for Delhi will never be forgotten,” Abdullah said. Raja remembered Sheila as one of the most dignified and respected leaders of the country.

As the longest-serving woman chief minister who steered her party to victory for three consecutive terms in 1998, 2003 and 2008, Sheila ushered in an era of all-round development that transformed Delhi into a world-class capital.

She also initiated green reforms in the public transport sector successfully accomplishing the shift from polluting vehicles to a CNG based fleet.

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