Sat, Aug 06, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Sonia Gandhi recovering from ‘successful’ surgery

AFP, NEW DELHI

The leader of India’s ruling party, Sonia Gandhi, was recovering yesterday after undergoing “successful” surgery for an undisclosed medical condition in the US, a spokesman said.

“The surgery is over,” Congress Party spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi said, adding that the “surgeon had indicated that the operation was successful.”

The 64-year-old Gandhi, widely seen as India’s most powerful politician, was recovering in an intensive care unit. The name and location of the hospital has not been released.

“As this is a personal matter that pertains to her health and medical treatment, her family requests that her privacy be -respected,” Dwivedi said.

India’s Tehelka news magazine said on microblogging site Twitter that Gandhi was admitted on Thursday to New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the world’s largest private cancer center, according to the hospital Web site. The Congress Party broke the surprise news of Gandhi’s impending surgery on Thursday morning and has since blocked all queries regarding the nature of her illness.

The Italian-born Gandhi is the widow of assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and wields enormous influence from her key power-broking position as Congress Party president.

In her absence, she appointed a four-member group to handle the day-to-day running of the Congress Party — including her son Rahul Gandhi, who is tipped as a future prime minister.

The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has ruled India for most of its post-independence history, with three members of the family becoming prime minister.

Sonia Gandhi holds total sway within the Congress and is credited with crafting the strategies that gave the party back-to-back general election victories in 2004 and 2009.

An expected absence of two to three weeks means she will miss a crucial session of parliament for the scandal-plagued government, which intends to introduce draft laws on a range of key areas, including corruption, land acquisition and food security.

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