Congress president Sonia Gandhi will undergo a surgery in the United States for an undisclosed medical condition, the party informed media personnel on Thursday.
Making a brief announcement, Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters in Parliament House that the 64-year-old leader was recently diagnosed with a medical condition.
"Sonia Gandhi has been recently diagnosed with a medial condition that requires surgery. On the advice of doctors, she has travelled abroad and she is likely to be away for two-three weeks," he said.
Gandhi, accompanied by her son Rahul, had left earlier this week to an undisclosed destination in the US. The party remained silent over when she left and where she was undergoing treatment.
Dwivedi earlier said that Gandhi had undergone a successful surgery but clarified later that the operation would be carried out in a day or two.
He said Gandhi has decided that in her absence, a group comprising Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders A K Antony, Ahmed Patel and Dwivedi will look after party affairs.
Asked to explain the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee from the group, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, "They (the prime minister and finance minister) are senior members who have been active in the organisation for long.
Responding to a question about Gandhi's health condition and the kind of surgery she has to undergo, Tiwari declined to go into details.
"Even public personalities are entitled to a certain amount of privacy as far as their medical condition is concerned. Our friends in media should bear that sensitivity in mind," he said.
While the nature of the medical problem was not immediately clear, sources within the party said Gandhi had undergone a few tests over the past two days.
Ever since Dwivedi's announcement on Thursday morning, speculations were rife about the nature of her problem.
In December 2007, Gandhi was admitted for a week in Ganga Ram Hospital, where she was reportedly under the treatment of an eminent gynaecologist.
She had earlier also visited the US for medical examination and the surgery had been planned in advance, said sources.
The Congress president had been not keeping well in the past and because of her illness, she could not attend meetings of the Congress Core Group and that of the Parliamentary Strategy Committee.
Additional inputs from PTI