During the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held to propose names for the next party chief, former party president Sonia Gandhi paid homage to late Sheila Dikshit on Saturday and said the former Delhi chief minister stood by her side in her “darkest years” and urged her to take up party’s presidency.
“My association with Sheilaji is longer than my political career. She stood by my side in my darkest years, later urging me again and again to take on the Presidentship of the Congress Party,” PTI quoted Gandhi as saying.
Follow LIVE updates here
Reminiscing her time with Dikshit, the UPA chairperson said Dikshit guided her like an elder sister rather than a party colleague. The programme was held in the memory of the three-time chief minister, Gandhi said Dikshit never shied away from shouldering responsibility no matter how challenging.
“In the most recent elections, this year, she stepped forward like a loyal soldier of the party to contest a Lok Sabha seat even though she had not been too well. Sheilaji’s life teaches us that that there is nothing more worthy for a public person than genuine service of the people,” Gandhi said.
Addressing Dikshit’s political career, Gandhi said she was one of the most able administrator the city ever had and was respected by people across political spectrum. Her vision and hard work transformed the Indian capital into a thriving and efficient metropolis, making it a better place for all its inhabitants, Gandhi said.
“Delhi and the Congress party won’t be the same without Sheilaji,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said the city lost its most able administrator and the party lost one of its most committed workers. “But we can attempt to fill this void by upholding those very principles and ideals she stood for and dedicated her life to,” she said.
A student of history, Dikshit was aware that success does not come without struggle and that is why in adverse times she was able to maintain her grit and composure, Gandhi said.
“In her long years in public service, she experienced life’s ups and downs, victories and defeats. But she took it all in her stride, and responded to the call whenever it came, always keeping her sights firmly on the larger goal of making a difference,” she said.
“Rarely does history bring together compassion, statesmanship, efficiency and stamina in one person. Sheilaji was one such example in recent times,” Gandhi stated.
Meanwhile, briefing the media, Rahul Gandhi said the CWC meeting stopped the deliberation to elect the next party chief citing issues surrounding Jammu and Kashmir. “The meeting was ongoing when reports of issues surround J&K arrived and therefore the meeting has been stopped. The government needs to tell the people what is happening in the state with complete transparency,” Rahul said. The meeting is underway.