Sonia Gandhi back to work, chairs CEC meeting

Greater Kashmir

New Delhi, Sep 15: Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who had undergone a surgery in the US last month, was her usual self today, chairing a party meeting that discussed names of 98 candidates and finalized 70 for Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
 The meeting of Central Election Committee, which she presided, was her first collective interaction with Congress leaders after she arrived here last week from the US.
 Party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said, “Gandhi participated in the meeting today happily and normally as she used to do earlier.
 Like in the past, Gandhi came out of her house to welcome Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and see him off after the 65-minute-long meeting.
 She discussed issues as she used to do earlier.”
 Dwivedi recalled that soon after coming back here, Gandhi had begun going through papers related to party work.
 “She is normally quite fine but as per the doctor’s advice it will take her some time to resume all the work she earlier did. It will take her a little more time to fully recover,” the Congress media department chief said.
 64-year-old Gandhi was operated in the US on August four for an undisclosed ailment and returned to the capital on September 8.
 Congress general secretary in charge of UP Digvijay Singh said Gandhi was looking “quite happy and actively participated in the meeting. Nobody could make out that she has undergone any operation. Touchwood, she was looking quite good”.
 The CEC meeting was attended among others by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, Congress President’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and Dwivedi.
 Dwivedi said the meeting discussed names of 98 candidates from which about 70 were finalised. The list of all the candidates is likely to be announced in one go after the 28 names are finalized post clarifications.
 Some leaders also presented Gandhi bouquet before the meeting.
 “Not at all” was the response of Dwivedi when asked whether Anna Hazare’s agitation was raised during the meeting.
 No other issue including inflation was raised during the meeting, which was dedicated solely to deciding candidates for the UP polls.
 Before leaving the country on August two, Gandhi had set up a four-member committee comprising Antony, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Dwivedi to oversee the party affairs in her absence.