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India’s Sonia Gandhi hospitalised with COVID

Sonia Gandhi tested positive for Covid-19 on June 2. Source: Quint.

NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi, president of India’s main opposition Congress party, has been admitted to hospital with “Covid-related issues,” a party spokesman said.

Gandhi was admitted to the Ganga Ram Hospital in the capital New Delhi, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet. “She is stable and will be kept at the hospital for observation,” he said, giving no further details.

The 75-year-old had tested positive for Covid-19 on June 2. Italian-born Gandhi is the widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in 1991.

Gandhi’s health has always been a matter of secrecy with her party never divulging too many details or entertaining questions, raising questions about transparency.

Her parliamentarian son Rahul Gandhi also served as the Congress president. Founded in 1885, Congress is India’s oldest political party and dominated the country for decades after independence, led by generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Almost a decade ago, Indian media reported that Gandhi was being treated in the United States for cancer. Several media reports after that have said she continues to visit the States for “routine medical checkup.”

Sonia Gandhi is credited with reviving the Congress Party when it won a surprise victory in legislative elections in 2004.

Following that election success, she would have become India’s first foreign-born prime minister, but she surprised everyone by turning down the top post and nominating economist Manmohan Singh to be prime minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dealt the Congress Party consecutive defeats in national polls in 2014 and 2019.

While Congress managed to win a mere 44 seats in the 543-member parliament in 2014, polls last year did not see any revival in its fortunes, and the party secured just 52 seats. The party now controls just a handful of India’s 28 states.

 

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