Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who returned from New York overnight after a medical check-up, was at Rashtrapati Bhavan well on time Thursday to attend the award 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. She spent some uncomfortable moments as she sat alone on the dais, facing a large invited audience, before Vice President Hamid Ansari came five minutes later.
Ansari 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 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 an "exceptionally remarkable woman who has touched and changed millions of lives" and who was being honoured in the name of "one of India's most remarkable women", her mother-in-law, former prime minister Indira Gandhi.