Sonia Gandhi, Congress party chief
POOR health has forced Sonia Gandhi, president of India’s ruling Congress party, to cancel plans today for her first public speech since undergoing surgery in August, a party spokesman said.
Gandhi was expected to signal her return to party business by addressing a rally in the Uttarakhand but she cancelled after being diagnosed with viral fever, Congress spokesman Janardhan Dwiwedi told reporters.
“She has been running a viral fever since yesterday, so today we cancelled the plan for her to go to Uttarakhand,” he said today. “I don’t think the fever will last beyond three or four days,” he added.
Speculation over Gandhi’s health and the future of the Congress party has been mounting ever since she went to the US three months ago to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness, thought to be cancer.
She has since appeared in public several times but has not spoken.
Media reports have suggested that Gandhi’s son, Rahul, will likely take over as party president by the end of the year, but critics panned his performance in joint control while his mother was receiving treatment.
The Congress party, which rules in a coalition in New Delhi, faces polls in key states next year including in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state where Rahul Gandhi has his constituency.
The party has been badly tarnished by a string of recent corruption scandals and soaring inflation, but the main national opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has been struggling to make headway.
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