3 Oct 2011

Sonia Gandhi makes public appearance

7:40 am on 3 October 2011

Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi has made her first public appearance since returning to India from the United States following surgery for an undisclosed medical condition.

Mrs Gandhi attended a prayer meeting on Sunday to mark the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

The BBC says the party has consistently refused to comment on the nature of the illness or where she went for surgery.

But media reports have suggested she was treated at a specialist cancer hospital in New York.

She was operated on in the first week of August and returned to India on 8 September, resuming work a week later.

Mrs Gandhi, 64, has no government post but holds enormous political power.

She is the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has ruled India for most of the time since independence in 1947.