Two top lieutenants of Indian PM's Modi unwell months before election

by Reuters
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 18:34 GMT

NEW DELHI, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The president of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, said on Wednesday he was being treated for swine flu, the second member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inner circle to be unwell this week.

Shah is charged with crafting the strategy for Modi's re-election bid in a vote that must be held by May. He said on Twitter he expected to recover soon.

Last month hospitals in Delhi reported a rise in cases of swine flu, domestic media said. Shah has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the country's top facility in the capital.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is in the United States for a medical checkup, officials said earlier in the week. No details were provided but two people with knowledge of the matter said Jaitley was not expected back until at least Jan. 25.

Jaitley is due to present the interim budget for 2019/2020 on Feb. 1. Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition Congress party, said he was upset to hear about Jaitley's illness.

"We are with you and your family 100 percent during this difficult period Mr Jaitley," he said on Twitter.

After a string of defeats in state elections, Modi is facing a tough election and an opposition that is trying to exploit discontent about lack of jobs and low farm prices that have angered farmers. (Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani and Mayank Bharadwaj; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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