If reports are to be believed, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is likely to field former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, where the assembly polls will be held early 2017.
The buzz was intensified with the news of Dikshit meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday, though party sources said the visit was not related to UP elections.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra might be the campaign leader of the party in the state.
While we wait for the Congress to officially declare its CM candidate for UP later this year, here are 10 things you need to know about Sheila Dikshit:
1. Dikshit was the chief minister of Delhi for a period of 15 years after winning three successive terms from 1998-2013.
2. She became the Governor of Kerala on March 11, 2014. But she resigned from the post on August 25, 2014.
3. Dikshit was reluctant to join politics and was introduced to the “game” by her father-in-law, Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a reputed independence activist and an ex-minister in late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet.
4. It was Indira Gandhi who was impressed with Dikshit’s administrative skills so much so that she nominated her to represent India at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. With this event, Dikshit formally entered politics.
5. A Master of Arts (MA) degree holder in history, Dikshit joined the Young Women’s Association NGO as its chairperson in the 1970s. Later, she also worked for Garment Exporters’ Association as its executive secretary.
6. Born on March 31, 1938 at Kapurthala in Punjab into a Punjabi Khatri family, her political rivals in the national capital have often charged her for being an outsider, but she had at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi and later graduated from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi.
7. Dikshit served the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet from 1986–1989; first as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, and then, as the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
8. In August 1990, Dikshit and her 82 colleagues were jailed for 23 days for leading a protest against atrocities committed on women in UP.
9. Dikshit was accused of corruption during the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG). The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) charged her for financial irregularities over imported equipment for lighting up the city streets during the games and causing a loss of Rs. 31.07 crore to the exchequer.
10. Dikshit was dethroned as the Delhi CM in the 2013 assembly elections by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Kejriwal himself defeated Dikshit in her New Delhi constituency by a margin of 25,864 votes.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.