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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sonia recovering; mixed views in party on secrecy!

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Smita Gupta, The Hindu / NEW DELHI, August 5, 2011.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File photo
Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File photo - AP.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital where she underwent successful surgery on August 4 for an undisclosed medical condition, the party announced on Friday.

In a brief statement, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi – and a member of the four-member panel that is to oversee day-to-day matters in the party president's absence — said the surgeon had indicated that the operation was successful. He also said Ms. Gandhi's children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Wadra, and her son-in-law Robert Wadra, were with her. His statement concludes with: “This is a personal matter that pertains to her health and medical treatment. Her family requests that her privacy be respected.”

Indeed, the party continued to be circumspect on Ms. Gandhi's ailment, the name of the hospital where she was operated upon as well as the country that she is in. In the Congress, there were mixed views on the secrecy: one party member said, “In no other democracy would there be such secrecy about the medical condition of a political party's seniormost leader — party workers are worried and concerned: there should be medical bulletins to reassure them.”

And there was speculation on the significance of the names of the committee that Ms. Gandhi has constituted to take care of the party in her absence.

While the names of Mr. Rahul Gandhi and that of Ms. Gandhi's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel evoked no surprise, the other two names — Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Mr. Dwivedi — came in for some comment.

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