Congress upbeat as Sonia presides over meeting

Congress upbeat as Sonia presides over meeting

Thick of things: In this first photo of Sonia Gandhi since her return last week from the US  after surgery, the Congress president is seen leaving her daughter Priyanka Vadra’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. Indian Express Archive

When asked about the 64-year-old Sonia’s health and general well-being, senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes told Deccan Herald: “She was cheerful and enthusiastically participated in the meeting. She was in command during the deliberations, like in the past.”

Another Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi informed that in the hour-long meeting held at her 10, Janpath, residence and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party, Sonia spoke and participated in the discussion the way she would before having health problems.

In an indication that the party chief had recovered well after undergoing surgery, Dwivedi said: “Sonia Gandhi came out of her residence to welcome the prime minister before the meeting began and later saw him off after the meeting”.

Dwivedi, however, said that “as per the doctor’s advice she will take some time to be fully active in the party’s activities”.

In their first meeting with Sonia after her return on August 8, some of the party leaders greeted her with flowers. According to Congress so­ur­ces, Sonia had not been meeting party leaders except her son and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi since her return. However, she has been going through documents sent to her.

Sources informed that Sonia decided to attend the meeting on Thursday morning after the party’s screening committee for Uttar Pradesh informed her on Wednesday evening that it was ready with a list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state and will wait for her confirmation to hold the CEC meeting. On Wednesday, she visited the residence of daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra situated about three km from her Janpath residence.

At the Thursday meeting, which cleared the names of 70 candidates for the UP polls, no other issue that troubled the party and government during Sonia’s absence was discussed.

“Not at all,” was Dwivedi’s reply when asked if other issues like veteran social activist Anna Hazare’s 12-day fast that almost paralysed the government were also discussed in the meeting.

Apart from the prime minister and Rahul the others who attended the meeting included Union ministers Pran­ab Mukherjee, A K Antony, Ambika Soni and Sonia’s political secretary Ahmed Patel besides memb­ers of the CEC, UP PCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi,
CLP leader Pramod Tiwari and UP screening committee members.

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