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India's Sonia Gandhi Undergoes Surgery

India's Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India's governing Congress party, has undergone surgery abroad for an undisclosed illness.

A spokesman for the party said on August 5 that the surgery had been successful.

Italian-born Gandhi, 64, the widow of assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has no official government position but is seen as the most powerful politician in India.

She is the head of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.

The family patriarch was Jawaharlal Nehru, a hero of the fight for independence from British rule who became India's first prime minister.

Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, later took power, followed by her son, Rajiv. Sonia Gandhi has named a four-member group, including her son Rahul Gandhi, to look after party affairs.

compiled from agency reports