Sonia Gandhi returns to India after US surgery
New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi, the key powerbroker of Indian politics, returned home on Thursday after undergoing surgery in the United States five weeks ago for an undisclosed condition, a spokesman told AFP.
Gandhi, president of the ruling Congress party and widow of former premier Rajiv Gandhi, is the influential patron behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has led India since 2004.
"Sonia Gandhi arrived early this morning, she is doing fine," Congress spokesman Janardan Dwivedi told AFP without giving further details.
Party officials announced on August 4 that Gandhi, 64, had been operated on in the United States, though they have since declined to release any information about her health or where she was admitted to hospital.
Italian-born Gandhi is widely thought to be preparing the ground for her only son Rahul to become prime minister at some stage after Singh, 78, steps down.
Son takes low profile
Rahul, 41, who sits in the lower house of parliament, has had joint charge of the Congress party while his mother has been away, but he adopted a low profile during a difficult period for the government.
It struggled to react to a nationwide civil protest movement that sprung up in support of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, who went on a 13-day hunger strike at a public venue in the capital New Delhi.
Authorities were heavily criticised for making several blunders in dealing with the hugely popular Hazare after they briefly arrested him and prime minister Singh denounced him in parliament.
Hazare's campaign claimed victory after lawmakers agreed to consider some of his demands over the strengthening of anti-corruption legislation being drawn up.
The government, which most observers say is guided on many strategic and daily matters by Sonia Gandhi, is also under pressure over security failures after a bomb outside the New Delhi court on Wednesday killed 12 people.
India has been hit by a series of bomb attacks in recent years, many of which remain unsolved.
The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has no link to independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, has exerted huge influence in India since Jawaharlal Nehru became the country's first prime minister after independence from Britain in 1947.