Support – and surgery – for Sonia

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New Delhi: Party President Sonia Gandhi led a massive Congress roadshow in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s backyard of Varanasi on Tuesday – but ended up having to undergo surgery for her efforts.

She sustained a shoulder injury during the huge event, and had to leave the procession prematurely.

She was subsequently admitted to hospital, and successfully treated for the injury.

The Sir Gangaram Hospital where she underwent the surgery said that all her health parameters were showing improvement and she was soon going to be shifted out of the ICU.

Gandhi was shifted to the Gangaram Hospital from the Army Research and Referral Hospital, where she was rushed soon after her arrival from Varanasi around midnight on Tuesday.

“Mrs Sonia Gandhi is making steady progress towards recovery from her illness. All her health parameters are showing improvement and she is soon going to be shifted out of the ICU,” according to a health bulletin issued by Dr D S Rana, Chairman (Board of Management) of the hospital.

According to sources, she is likely to remain at the hospital for a week

Before being felled by the injury, Gandhi headed the massive roadshow in Varanasi kicking off the party’s campaign for the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh where it is out of power for nearly three decades.

Modi prayed for Gandhi’s quick recovery and good health.

“Heard about Sonia ji s ill health during her Varanasi visit today. I pray for her quick recovery and good health,” he tweeted.

The roadshow, which continued for about three hours, was halted for sometime at the Lohurabir roundabout near the fag end of the road show from the Circuit House to Englishiya Line.

Thousands of Congress supporters and workers took part in the roadshow.

It was Gandhi’s first visit to Varanasi after Modi became Prime Minister in May 2014.

The march began with Gandhi garlanding the statue of B R Ambedkar at the Circuit House and the marchers criss-crossed lanes and bylanes of the temple town.

Gandhi, who was initially travelling in a car and later moved to a vehicle with open sunroof, waved at the crowd which cheered and raised slogans against the Modi government.

She came out of her vehicle several times to accept the greetings of the cheering supporters, including groups of Muslim women. As the road show passed through several localities, rose petals were showered on Gandhi and her cavalcade from adjoining buildings.

Dozens of mini trucks prominently displayed posters with ’27 Saal, UP Behaal’ (27 years of UP’s distress) written on them. Placards carried by hundreds of workers also had the same slogan written on them.

Besides the party’s chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit, AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, state party chief Raj Babbar and senior leaders Pramod Tiwari and Sanjay Singh accompanied Gandhi. Babbar expressed the hope there will be a “miracle” in favour of his party in the elections.

Earlier, Gandhi flew in to Varanasi for a day-long programme in Modi’s constituency and was led by hundreds of bikers, waving party flags from the airport to the heart of the city.

Congress has launched a campaign “dard-e-Banaras” to highlight lack of development in Varanasi, which Modi is representing for over two years in the Lok Sabha.

Congress has been out of power for 27 years in Uttar Pradesh and is projecting that the state has gone from bad to worse in these years through a campaign, called ’27 Saal, UP Behaal’.