After ruling Delhi for 15 years, chief minister Sheila Dikshit (75) lost to Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal
in Delhi Assembly elections on Sunday.
A dejected Sheila faxed her resignation to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung as soon as the trends started showing that her party was completely decimated in the AAP storm.
For a person who had become the face of development in Delhi in the past 15 years, the election results have come up as a big surprise. Not just the people on streets, even the political analysts who were predicting Congress' defeat were somehow convinced that Sheila will manage to brave the AAP storm and retain her seat - New Delhi -
which she had represented three times.
Now when the Congress' strength in the Assembly is likely to be reduced to a single digit, what course Sheila's political career would take, will be interesting to observe.
From being the wife of a bureaucrat, who occasionally helped her father-in-law Uma Shankar Dikshit in his political dealings, Sheila has come a long way.
She had contested and won her first parliamentary election in 1984 from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh
and was made minister of state in Rajiv Gandhi cabinet in 1986.
In 1997, she was made the president of Delhi Congress. She successfully led the party to a victory by a huge margin in 1998 assembly elections.
Considered an outsider in Delhi politics, Sheila had a tough time initially. On one hand, she had the challenge to bring in reforms and take Delhi on the path of development and on the other she had to face stiff resistance from her own colleagues in the Assembly.
She dealt with both the challenges with ease. In the past 15 years as chief minister, she not only changed the face of Delhi - brought reforms in power sector, strengthened public transport and improved road infrastructure - she also won over her enemies or managed to marginalise them.
If she had won this election, she would have earned the tag of one of the most successful Congress leaders and would have been in reckoning for a plum posting in the central government if Congress wins the 2014 general election. But her future now seems gloomy.