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Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi
September 19, 2021 COMMENT comment
Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi
By Priyanka Chakrabarti
She may look like the auntie next door but Sheila Dikshit has a formidable history as a politician. She is someone who fights to the finish – she has won all elections since 1998 for the Congress in the national capital.
Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as the Chief Minister of Delhi has had its ups and downs but one thing is for sure, her stint as Chief Minister has seen Delhi rapidly transforming itself.
Interestingly, this quintessential politician never had political aspirations until very late. Prior to her marriage, she was like any other girl, going to college and reading Charles Dickens and Jane Austin in her free time. “I was never ambitious as a young girl. I was much inspired by the philosophies of great thinkers such as Karl Marx. Then I got married into the family of Shri Umashankar Dikshit, a noted activist and former politician. This is where my stint with politics started,” she says. “Had I not been a politician, I might have been a happy homemaker, taking care of my family, raising my children, collecting art and crafts. I could have been a less-established interior decorator,” grins the 73-year-old.
After her father-in-law retired from politics, someone from the family had to “carry forward the legacy”. Dikshit made her political debut in 1984. In the general election held after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, she won a Lok Sabha seat from Kannauj,Uttar Pradesh. “My mother and my husband have been the most instrumental in my growth,” she says. Her husband Vinod is no more. Her son Sandeep Dikshit has joined her in politics and is an MP from the East Delhi constituency. Her daughter Latika, who has done her Master’s from the Delhi School of Social Work, wants to become a social activist. 
A former student of Jesus and Mary, Sheila Dikshit has a Master’s in History from Delhi’s Miranda House. “I wanted to do my Master’s in Geography, but Miranda House didn’t have the course, hence I moved on with history,” she says.
Dikshit confides that she still finds time to read. “I love reading classics, be it French, Russian or British. I also read a lot of Middle-East literature, my favourite books being The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.” She is also an art collector. “I am very passionate about art. I collect art from many places,” she says, seated in the foreground of several paintings and sculptures.
Her entry into politics may have been an accident, but she enjoys being a politician, to the fullest. “I have a great sense of satisfaction in being able to do things for the larger masses. There is not a moment of dullness, but at times it does get ridiculous! You come across people who nudge others for personal benefits. Perhaps this is part of the game. But it grows on you. I have learnt it my way. The best part is that every morning you are acquainted with a brand new challenge, and a challenge is always a great advantage.”
What does she do when she is home? “Well, I love watching movies; my last movie was Zindegi Na Milegi Dobara. I watched it four times. I listen to music, I chit chat and I gossip!”
Has her gender affected her professional growth? “Not much. New beginnings are always shaky but once you establish yourself, gender becomes inconsequential.” she explains.
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