New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee were among the early politicians to pay tributes to senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, who passed away at the age of 81 on Saturday.
Dikshit breathed her last at a private hospital in the national capital earlier today. Her mortal remains were brought to her residence in Nizamuddin East this evening.
Modi, after laying a wreath on Dikshit's mortal remains, interacted with the veteran leader's family. Sonia, too, met the grieving members of the family and even embraced her daughter Latika.
Speaking to media after paying respects to the departed, Manmohan Singh told reporters here, "It is a great loss for the country and Congress party. Delhi has lost an outstanding leader and administrator who transformed the state beyond recognition. The country will remember her contribution towards the transformation of Delhi for a long time."Meanwhile, former President Pranab Mukherjee said, "I knew her (Sheila Dikshit) even before she entered politics. It's a great loss to the nation. They have lost an able administrator and a fine leader."Hailing Dikshit as a "motherly figure", Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, "Sheila Dikshit ji was a motherly figure, as a social and a political worker her contribution was immense to Delhi and the country. The whole country is sad over her demise."Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who paid homage to the Congress stalwart, said, "Sheila Ji was counted among the most seasoned politicians of our nation. Her political life was spotless."Among others to pay tributes to the veteran leader at her residence were Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and actress Sharmila Tagore.
"People will miss Sheila Dikshit ji a lot, she had worked a lot for Delhi. Even though we were from different parties, whenever I met her she showed a lot of love. I pray to God to give peace to her soul and strength to her family to cope with this loss," Kejriwal told reporters outside the Congress leader's residence.
Dikshit, who died at 3.55 pm at a private hospital in Delhi, is credited for the national capital's growing infrastructure including roads and flyovers and better public transport system.
She was the longest-serving Chief Minister of Delhi, having served in office for 15 years from 1998. She was appointed Delhi Congress Committee earlier this year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress stalwart's last rites will take place tomorrow afternoon.