India’s Sonia Gandhi makes first speech since surgery

NEW DELHI - Sonia Gandhi, president of India’s ruling Congress party, returned to the political stage on Tuesday, making her first public speech since undergoing surgery in August.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 29 Nov 2011, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:30 AM

Gandhi, 64, was greeted by huge cheers as she spoke to a Congress youth rally in New Delhi organised by her son, Rahul Gandhi, who is taking an increasingly prominent role in domestic politics.

Speculation over Sonia’s health and the future leadership of the Congress party has been mounting ever since she went to the United States in August to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness.

She looked tired but spoke in a firm voice for more than 10 minutes to thousands of young party members.

“You have the power to beat back the forces of oppression and injustice and to make a beautiful life for yourself and for others,” she said.

The Italian-born leader wields uncontested power in the Congress party and is seen as having a key influence over all major decisions taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

Gandhi had been expected to signal her return to party business by addressing a political rally earlier this month but was forced to cancel after coming down with a virus.

After her operation, she appeared in public several times but did not deliver a speech. Her party has given no details about the nature of her illness or her treatment.

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