NEW YORK/NEW DELHI: The Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi on Thursday underwent surgery in a US hospital for an undisclosed ailment which will keep her out of India for a month during which the party affairs will looked after by Mr Rahul Gandhi-led four-member group
The Congress party’s announcement in New Delhi that its 64-year-old leader has been diagnosed for surgery and that Mr Rahul Gandhi, the Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony, her political aide Mr Ahmed Patel and the general secretary, Mr Janardhan Dwivedi will run the affairs of the party caught the country by total surprise because there was no inkling that she had travelled abroad.
Ms Gandhi’s ailment remained a matter of speculation in the absence of authentic word with the Congress party maintaining total secrecy about the country where she had travelled for the surgery along with her son.
However, it was learnt on Thursday night that the Congress leader had undergone a successful surgery in a US hospital.
A statement on her health is expected to be issued on Friday either by the family or by the doctors.
Significance is attached to the fact that Mr Rahul Gandhi will form part of the committee that has only one senior minister of the government and two leaders from the organisation.
Asked to explain the absence of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee from the group, the Congress spokesperson, Mr Manish Tiwari said, “They (the Prime Minister and Finance Minister) are senior members who have been active in the organisation for long.”
To a question about her health condition and the kind of surgery, she has to undergo, Mr Tiwari declined to go into details.
“Even public personalities are entitled to certain amount of privacy in so far as their medical condition is concerned. Our friends in media should bear that sensitivity in mind,” he said.
While it was not immediately clear about the nature of medical problem, sources within the party said Ms Gandhi had undergone a few tests over the past two days.
Ever since Ms Dwivedi’s announcement in the morning, there was speculation about the nature of her problem. In December, 2007, Ms Gandhi was admitted for a week in the Ganga Ram Hospital where she was said to have been under treatment of an eminent gynaecologist.
The sources said she had earlier also visited the US for medical examination and the surgery had been planned in advance.
The Congress president had been not keeping well in the past and because of her illness, she could not attend meetings of the Congress core group as also that of the parliamentary strategy committee.