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Cheerful Sonia Gandhi back at work

Kavita Chowdhury | New Delhi Sep 16, 2011 01:06 AM IST

An ebullient Sonia Gandhi greeted senior functionaries of her party on Thursday with American milk chocolates, as she officially got back to work after a month-long stay in the US where she had undergone a surgery. The Congress president took her party leaders by surprise by attending the Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting and chaired it “as her usual normal self”.

The Congress chief, attired in three-inch wedge heels and a bluish grey salwar suit, put all speculation to rest about her health. Playing the perfect hostess at 10 Janpath, her residence, Gandhi even stepped out to receive the Prime Minister and walked up to the main door to see her party leaders off after the two-hour meeting, which cleared the second list of party candidates for the UP polls, slated next year.

This was the first organisational meeting held by Gandhi after her return on September 8. “At around noon today, we were taken by surprise when we were informed that the CEC meeting was to be held at the Congress president’s residence. We were naturally excited and arranged to take along bouquets to welcome her back,” said a senior functionary. Last time, the CEC in the absence of the Congress chief had met at the Prime Minister’s residence and cleared the first list of the names of 73 party candidates for the UP elections. While a total of 98 names were discussed at the meeting on Thursday, only about 70 were finally cleared.

“In fact, she was looking younger than usual, possibly because she must have lost some weight due to her illness. But she was more than usually cheerful,” added the Congress functionary. “She accepted our bouquet of flowers and greetings and went on to chair the meeting as professionally as ever. We were delighted with the milk chocolates with nuts that she served us apart from the coffee.”

The good cheer seemed to have rubbed off on Congressmen alike. Both general secretaries Janardhan Dwivedi and Digvijay Singh stated that Gandhi was “looking cheerful”.

Digvijay Singh, who is also in charge of the party’s UP affairs, said “she was looking quite happy and actively participated in the meeting. Nobody could make out that she has undergone any operation. Touch wood, she was looking quite good!”

Ever since Gandhi’s return on September 8, only a select few party leaders had met the Congress president, as she was advised to take rest for at least a fortnight.

Nevertheless, she had started clearing long pending tasks like appointment of district presidents in several states and executive committee members.

Although party members were of the opinion that she was still convalescing at home, the Congress chief stepped out last evening to visit her daughter Priyanka’s home.



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