Congress leader Sonia Gandhi cuts short Varanasi visit after falling ill

Varanasi, IndiaUpdated: Aug 03, 2016, 01:18 AM IST

Gandhi, earlier in the day, launched her party's campaign for the 2017 assembly elections in northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Photograph:(AFP)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi today cut short her visit to the Indian temple town Varanasi after she was advised by the doctors to return to the national capital Delhi.

This development comes after it was reported that Sonia had high fever. Before leaving for the national capital, the Congress president, standing in an SUV, waved to the thousands of people who gathered to see her off.

"Heard about Sonia ji's ill health during her Varanasi visit today. I pray for her quick recovery and good health," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Gandhi, earlier in the day, launched her party's campaign for the 2017 assembly elections in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi.

The roadshow began with Gandhi putting a garland at the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar, hailed as an architect of the Indian constitution, at the Circuit House.

Thousands of party supporters and workers took part in the roadshow, which started from the Circuit House to Englishiya Line, a distance of about eight kilometres.It was ensured that Congress president's posters, banners, welcome arches and gates are seen everywhere in the city. 

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, All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, state party chief Raj Babbar and senior leaders Pramod Tiwari and Sanjay Singh accompanied Gandhi.

This was Gandhi's first visit to Varanasi after Modi became Prime Minister.