India’s opposition leader Sonia Gandhi has been hospitalized with COVID-related issues

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FILE PHOTO: India’s Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi pays homage at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial to mark Gandhi’s 150th birthday at Rajghat in New Delhi, India October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

NEW DELHI – The leader of India’s main opposition party, Sonia Gandhi, has been rushed to a hospital in New Delhi with health problems related to COVID-19, her Congress party said.

The party tweeted the announcement but gave no further details.

Italian-born Gandhi, widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is the longest-serving president of the Congress party, which ruled India for decades after its founders led the country to independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Gandhi, 76, is credited with revitalizing Congress when he won a surprise general election victory in 2004.

After that electoral success, she would have become India’s first foreign-born and first Roman Catholic female prime minister, but she surprised everyone by turning down the top post and appointing economist Manmohan Singh as prime minister.

In recent years, Gandhi has traveled to the United States several times to study health issues.

Her party’s fortunes have plummeted since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party defeated her in the 2014 and 2019 general elections.

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