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Delhi bids tearful adieu to Sheila

New Delhi: As former Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit's hearse reached Nigambodh Ghat, where her last rites were performed on Sunday, the heavens opened up with torrential rains leaving the Capital awash. Thousands of supporters and admirers across Delhi's entire political spectrum stood drenched in the rains on a cloudy afternoon; their hearts heavy with the sorrow of Dikshit's passing, with only words of praise and respect for the woman who came to be affectionately known as the 'mother' of India's Capital - the one who transformed it into "New Delhi".

Her sudden demise had brought everyone from the Capital to halt and cut through differences, political or otherwise. Even in her death, Dikshit managed to blur political differences of people and make them see how far Delhi has come, and what more can be done for the city.

Nigambodh Ghat was crowded with thousands, who were there to just take a moment to acknowledge her love, sacrifices, and work for all of Delhi. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as well as a string of other Congress veterans, witnessed the last rites.

After the news of Dikshit's death broke on Saturday, her body was kept at her Nizamuddin residence, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress President Sonia Gandhi and UP Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, BJP stalwart LK Advani, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal besides other dignitaries paid their last respects to the longest-serving CM of Delhi.

Dikshit's body was placed at the All India Congress Committee in Delhi from 11 am on Sunday, where BJP President and Home Minister Amit Shah visited amid hundreds of admirers, who also wanted to get a last glimpse at her.

As hundreds of party workers and well-wishers clad in white waited for Dikshit's hearse to arrive outside the DPCC, they bore the brunt of scorching temperatures. The former CM's body arrived at around 2 pm at the state party headquarters, accompanied by a convoy with senior police officials and several prominent politicians. While the hearse waited outside the DPCC for only about 15 minutes, Congress workers lined up behind it to take turns to pay their last respects to their leader, as party workers showered rose petals at the vehicle.

One by one, senior party leaders from the state entered the hearse, where Dikshit's son, Sandeep Dikshit and other family members were seated, and passed on their condolences to the family while taking the time to pay their respects to the longest-serving Chief Minister of Delhi. Several party workers crowded the glass panel of the hearse just to get a glimpse of Dikshit's face for the last time. Some leaders also chanted slogans of "Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Sheilaji ka naam rahega", as they were exiting the vehicle. The hearse, with a large portrait of Dikshit on it, soon left for Nigambodh Ghat, followed by a convoy of at least 50 cars and vans and trucks full of her supporters on it. The entire stretch of road from DPCC to ITO crossing was lined with both traffic cops and brown-clad police personnel directing traffic to accommodate the large convoy following Dikshit's hearse.

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