Sonia Gandhi retires as Congress chief

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Sonia Gandhi retires as Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi retires as Congress chief

New Delhi : Sonia Gandhi on Friday said it was time for her to retire, triggering immediate speculation about her future plans, but the Congress party sought to quell it saying she has only retired from the party chief's role and not from politics.

"My role now is to retire," NDTV quoting her as saying in response to a question as to whether she will continue as Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party and what would be her role in the future as her son Rahul Gandhi is slated to take over as party chief on Saturday.

Sonia Gandhi also added that Rahul has been playing an active role in the last three years. 

It was not clear what Sonia Gandhi, 70, meant by her remark -- whether retiring from politics altogether or from the Lok Sabha.

Sonia Gandhi has been President of the Congress party for the last 19 years. Rahul Gandhi, 47, was elected Congress President unopposed on Monday and is set to take over his new role on Saturday. 

As her remarks triggered political speculation, the Congress party stepped in quickly to clarify that she has retired as party President and not from politics.

"Would sincerely request friends in the media to not rely on innuendos. Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics. Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light," tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Sonia Gandhi has not been keeping well for quite sometime now and did not campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for the Assembly elections.

She was admitted to a private hospital here in the last week of October after she complained of upset stomach during a trip to Shimla. 

Sonia Gandhi had fallen ill during the Varanasi road show on August 2 last year and had dislocated her left shoulder during the rally. She also did not campaign for the assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, earlier this year.