New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who returned from New York Wednesday night after her medical checkup, was at Rashtrapati Bhavan well on time Thursday morning to attend the conferment of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on Nobel Prize-winning Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Gandhi, who looked tired, was the first dignitary to arrive and take her seat on the podium at the historic Durbar Hall. In fact she spent quite a few uncomfortable moments as she sat alone on the dais, facing a large invited audience, before Vice President Hamid Ansari came a good five minutes later. He was followed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Sirleaf and finally President Pranab Mukherjee.
Wearing a rust-and-green sari, Gandhi was accompanied by son Rahul Gandhi, who however sat with the audience in the front row along with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and some cabinet ministers, including Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K.V. Thomas and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja.
Sonia Gandhi, in her capacity as chairperson of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, praised the Liberian president as being a "exceptionally remarkable woman who has touched and changed millions of lives" who was being honoured in the name of "one of India's most remarkable women", her mother-in-law, former prime minister Indira Gandhi.