Sonia Gandhi performed a puja today before filing her nomination papers in Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh, which has voted her since 2004. She was seen, flanked by her children Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at a havan organised by a party worker.
Priyanka Gandhi's children Raihan and Miraya were also present during the rituals, along with several Congress leaders.
Sonia Gandhi, 72, was seated on a stool with Rahul and Priyanka on either side.
The former Congress president has reduced her public engagements and participation in active politics because of her health.
There were rumours that she would retire from elections and Priyanka Gandhi would take over as the Congress candidate in Raebareli, a long-time Gandhi family stronghold once held by former prime minister Indira Gandhi, Priyanka's grandmother.
Sonia Gandhi also went for her son Rahul Gandhi's nomination in Amethi yesterday. She drove straight to the election office and did not join Rahul Gandhi's roadshow on the way to the office. Priyanka Gandhi, her husband Robert Vadra and their children also joined the roadshow.
Images of the Gandhi family sitting for the puja were seen by some as messaging in the same way as Rahul Gandhi's temple visits, which had the ruling BJP accuse the Congress chief of dabbling in soft Hindutva for votes.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, the BJP candidate taking on Rahul Gandhi in neighbouring Amethi, also performed a puja with her husband Zubin Irani before filing her nomination.
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