Congress president Sonia Gandhi has undergone surgery in the United States for an undisclosed medical condition. She constituted a four-member group that includes her son, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, to oversee the party’s functioning in her absence. She is likely to be away for nearly a month.
The party is tight-lipped about the nature of the ailment and the place where she is getting medical treatment. She was learnt to have left India on Wednesday. The Congress will release a bulletin on Mrs Gandhi’s medical condition on Friday morning. The Congress chief was accompanied to the US by son Rahul and daughter Priyanka.
Mrs Gandhi decided that in her absence a group comprising Mr Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Janardan Dwivedi will look after party affairs.
According to well placed sources, the Congress core group, which meets once a week, will continue with his practice. Asked whether Mr Rahul Gandhi will attend the core group meetings in her absence, they said, “Rahulji is with Soniaji.”
Earlier, making a brief announcement, Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi on Thursday told reporters in Parliament House that the 64-year-old leader was recently diagnosed with a medical condition and was advised to undergo surgery. “Smt Sonia Gandhi has been recently diagnosed with a medical condition that requires surgery. On the advice of doctors, she has travelled abroad and she is likely to be away for two-three weeks,” he said. Mr Dwivedi had earlier said that Mrs Gandhi had undergone a successful surgery but clarified later that the operation would be carried out in a day or two.
Rahul Gandhi’s inclusion in the four-member team is a significant development because he was earlier confined to the Youth Congress, NSUI and Uttar Pradesh. He will now take an active role in decision making and organisational affairs. According to Congress insiders, the team of four will meet almost every day till Mrs Gandhi returns.
Asked to explain the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee from the team, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari only said, “They (the Prime Minister and the finance minister) are senior members who have been active in the organisation for long.”
Meanwhile, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi wished Mrs Gandhi a speedy recovery. He conveyed his best wishes to Mrs Gandhi, a Gujarat government statement said. In his message, Mr Modi said he prayed to the almighty for her speedy recovery and return to the best of health, it said.
The Leaders of the Opposition in the two Houses of Parliament, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Arun Jaitley, as well as Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati said they hoped that “Sonia Gandhi will recover soon and start her routine work”. Asian Age