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Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit dies

  • Published at 09:41 pm July 20th, 2019
Sheila Dikshit
Indian National Congress candidate for North-East Delhi Sheila Dikshit looks on after a joint press conference presenting candidates for the New Delhi constituency ahead of phase VI of India's general election, in New Delhi on April 25, 2019 AFP

Dikshit also served as the governor of the southern state of Kerala and as president of the main opposition Congress Party in Delhi

The former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit has died aged 81, following a long illness.

The veteran politician was the longest-serving chief minister of the Indian capital, serving for three terms from 1998 to 2013, reports BBC.

Dikshit also served as the governor of the southern state of Kerala and as president of the main opposition Congress Party in Delhi.

Dikshit passed away last afternoon at a hospital in the Indian capital.

Earlier this year she was named as a Congress candidate in the general election. But she was unsuccessful in her race to win the North East Delhi seat in the lower house of parliament, known as the Lok Sabha.

"It is very disappointing, we should have won," she said at the time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cruised to a landslide victory in the poll.

The Indian leader paid tribute to Dikshit after news broke of her death.

"Blessed with a warm and affable personality, she made a noteworthy contribution to Delhi's development," Narendra Modi said in a tweet. "Condolences to her family and supporters."

India's President Rashtrapati Bhavan also shared his condolences.

"Sad to hear of the passing of [Ms Dikshit]," he said. "Her term in office was a period of momentous transformation for the capital for which she will be remembered."

Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress Party leader, said he was "devastated" by the news of her death. "She served selflessly," he said.