India Congress chief Sonia Gandhi discharged from hospital

NDIA'S ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi was released from hospital today, hours after being admitted with fever, cold and a headache, a doctor and colleagues said.

Mrs Gandhi, 66, was taken to hospital from the national parliament, where she had earlier urged lawmakers to pass landmark legislation offering subsidised food to millions of India's poor.

"She complained of a headache and she had a cough," said the doctor who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

"We checked all her parameters. Once the team of doctors was convinced that she was all right, she was discharged," he told AFP, adding that she was released about 3am local time.

Late today, parliament passed the Food Security Bill, which has been championed by the Congress leader, who included it as a manifesto pledge for the elections in 2009.

The bill -- seen as a vote-winner by the ruling Congress party ahead of national polls next year -- was adopted in the lower house after a nine-hour debate.

The scheme will provide food grain to nearly 70 per cent of the population, or 800 million people, for as little as 1 rupee (1.7c) a kilogram.

In a rare speech in parliament, Mrs Gandhi had told MPs to send a message to the world that India was ready to eradicate malnutrition, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as a "national shame".

Television footage showed Mrs Gandhi leaving parliament yesterday evening, escorted by her son, to go to hospital.

"She was feeling uneasy in the parliament," Congress party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters outside AIIMS hospital.

"She was rushed here to AIIMS. She has gone back home, she is all right and her medical check-up has been completed ... there is nothing to worry.

"She is completely fine."

In 2011, Mrs Gandhi travelled to the US for surgery for an undisclosed illness, reportedly cancer.

Her health and private life are closely guarded by her advisers.