New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi, is recovering in the intensive care unit (ICU) of an American hospital. She was operated upon yesterday and her surgeon has "indicated that the operation was successful."
The Congress party issued a statement today that did not indicate where the surgery was performed, but said the Congress president's son Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra were with her. The Congress has also said that, "As this is a personal matter that pertains to her health and medical treatment, her family requests that her privacy be respected."
Special prayers were held in her constituency Rae Bareli, as the political establishment came to grips with the news. In Parliament, the Sonia-effect was felt on proceedings - for example, during a discussion on Telangana, Sarve Satyanarayana, a Telengana MP said, "Sonia Gandhi is like my mother. We wish her well."
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah went a step further when he called for a temporary break to the agitations over the Telangana issue in the state. "The final decision has to be taken by them (Central Government). As UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhiji needs to give her advice. Since she is unwell, the agitators should give a temporary break to their campaign. They can voice their demands after her return," Mr Rosaiah said in Hyderabad.
Pointing out that such breaks were given even during India's independence movement, Mr Rosaiah said, "All the leaders including Sushma Swaraj have wished speedy recovery of Sonia Gandhiji. I appeal all the leaders of Telangana and other regions to observe restraint and think calmly."
But while Telangana leaders may choose to wait, the Congress faces some tough days ahead with pressing issues such as the indictment of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the government auditor's report on the Commonwealth Games. Rahul Gandhi is expected to return in the next few days, but the Congress leaders are not indicating whether Mr Gandhi, and his caretaker team, will tackle these issues in Sonia Gandhi's absence.