Sheila Dikshit, inspite of the corruption allegation, remains of the belter Chief Ministers Delhi has seen. Even within the Congress, she is one of those who have sculpted a powerful and stable place for themselves despite facing rebellion. She had governed Delhi for 15 years and it was during these years that a shift to CNG buses was made, the road network improved, Commonwealth Games were successfully conducted etc. The Sheila Dikshit era in Delhi was brought to sudden halt by Arvind Kejriwal when the Aam Aadmi Party won with a huge margin.
As is the practice among the better educated public figures of writing autobiographies ‘post retirement’, Dikshit has come out with hers called Citizen Delhi: My Times, My Life. In a political career spanning over three decades, there are bound to be surprises for the readers. One such surprise comes when Sheila Dikshit writes about the controversial law to overturn the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case. Sheila Dikshit recalls that Rajiv Gandhi had asked her to get a consensus of the party MPs around the Muslim Women’s Bill.
Sheila Dikshit writes that Rajiv Gandhi asked the MoS for Home Affairs, Arif Mohammad Khan to deliver a strong defense of the Shah Bano judgement in the parliament and Arif didn’t disappoint Rajiv Gandhi. However, according to Dikshit, the issue was framed in such a way by the parties with vested interests across the religious and political spectrum that ‘it fell victim to the political fault lines that independent India had inherited’. Sheila Dikshit goes on to mention that many even with the Congress party doubted the necessity of such a bill and had their reservations about it but nevertheless supported it in a show of discipline.
Sheila Dikshit’s book comes out with this information at a rather interesting time. At a time, the Triple Talaq Bill has been taking a major part of the news and Congress has been opposing it and has stalled it in the Upper house after it was passed in the Lower House.
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