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India's Sonia Gandhi back at work after surgery

16 september 2011, 10:26
Sonia Gandhi, the president of India's ruling Congress party, returned to work Thursday, six weeks after undergoing surgery in the United States for an undisclosed condition, AFP reports, citing officials.

The 64-year-old widow of former premier Rajiv Gandhi is seen as the key decision-maker within the government as well as the influential patron behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Singh's government has had a difficult time during her absence with an unsolved bombing at New Delhi High Court that killed 14 people and the sudden emergence of a nationwide anti-corruption protest movement.

Congress spokesman Janardan Dwivedi told the Press Trust of India news agency that Gandhi would preside over a meeting of the party's central election committee on Thursday afternoon.

The meeting was to decide on candidates for elections next year in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state.

Italian-born Gandhi is often said to be preparing the ground for her only son Rahul to become prime minister at some stage after premier Singh, 78, steps down.

Rahul was given joint-charge of the party while she was away but he took a low profile as the government struggled to react to the mass anti-corruption protests last month.

Officials have released no details about Gandhi's health beyond announcing on August 4 that she had had surgery in the United States and that she returned last week to India.

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