India's Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi hospitalized for respiratory tract infection

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    NEW DELHI — India's opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi was hospitalized Thursday for treatment of lower respiratory tract infection, a party official said.

    Gandhi was admitted to New Delhi's Ganga Ram Hospital, according to the Press Trust of India news agency, which cited party spokesman Ajay Maken.

    Janardhan Dwivedy, a senior party leader, confirmed that Sonia Gandhi was unwell.

    Last year, Gandhi was rushed to a New Delhi hospital for a few hours after she fell ill during a debate in Parliament.

    Gandhi is the Italian-born widow of slain former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. After his death, she entered politics reluctantly but led the Congress party to successive election triumphs in 2004 and 2009.

    Her party lost the 2014 national elections to Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

    The Congress party has long kept a careful veil over Gandhi's personal life despite her immense influence. She flew to the United States for a surgery in 2011, with some Indian news outlets saying she had been treated for cancer. But the party never gave more than cursory information about her illness, calling it a personal matter.

    In September last year, Gandhi visited the United States for a regular health check.

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