Sonia Gandhi


Sonia Gandhi is an ace politician representing third generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family. She was born on 9 December 1946 in Contrada Miani at Lusiana. Born in Italy as Edvige Antonia Albina Maino, Sonia Gandhi got her name after marrying Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, Sonia was in constant pressure to hold the legacy of Congress, and in 1997 she joined the congress and began her political career. Sonia Gandhi became the first foreign born leader who occupied the top position in an Indian political party. In 2004, she was appointed the chairperson of United Progressive Alliance aka UPA, an alliance that ruled the nation till 2014. Mrs Gandhi is the longest serving chairperson of Indian National Congress since its inception.

Her Political Stint:

In her earlier days as a housewife, Sonia kept her away from active politics. Her voyage to the Indian politics began when her mother-in-law and the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security personnel. After Indira’s demise, nation went to the general elections and Rajiv Gandhi filed his papers from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. The person who was contesting against Rajiv Gandhi was none other than the wife of Rajiv’s younger brother Sanjay Gandhi, Mrs Maneka Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi actively campaigned for Rajeev Gandhi. Rajeev Gandhi won the elections and became the prime minister of India.

Activities and achievements of Sonia Gandhi:

  • Within 62 days of getting primary membership of the party, Sonia Gandhi became the Party President.
  • Won Lok Sabha elections in 1999 from Bellary, Uttar Pradesh, defeating Sushma Swaraj –
  • Re-elected as Lok Sabha member from Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, twice (2004 and 2009 )
  • Elected in the 13th Lok Sabha as Leader of Opposition in 1999 during the NDA government
  • Appointed Manmohan Singh as the next Prime Minister of India
  • During her tenure as Chairman of the UPA government and the National Advisory Committee, she was instrumental in enacting
  • the Right to Information Act and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Honours and recognition received by Sonia Gandhi

  • 2004 : Mentioned as the world’s third most powerful woman by the Forbes magazine.
  • 2006 : Received an honorary Doctorate from the Brussels University.
  • 2006: The Government of Belgium also honoured her with the Order of King Leopold.
  • 2007: She was mentioned as the world’s sixth most powerful woman by the Forbes magazine.
  • She was named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time in 2007 and 2008.
  • 2008: Received the Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Madras.
  • In 2009: Sonia Gandhi was mentioned as the world’s ninth-most powerful woman by the Forbes magazine.
  • In 2010: New Statesman, a British magazine, ranked her among fifty most influential people of the world
  • Rani Singh wrote a Biography on Sonia Gandhi in 2011: An Extraordinary Life, An Indian Destiny.
Chairperson of the National Advisory Council
In office 29 March 2010 – 25 May 2014
Preceded by Position reestablished
Succeeded by Position abolished
In office 4 June 2004 – 23 March 2006
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance
Assumed office 16 May 2004
Preceded by Position established
President of the Indian National Congress
Assumed office 14 March 1998
Preceded by Sitaram Kesri
Leader of the Opposition
In office 19 March 1998 – 22 May 2004
Preceded by Sharad Pawar
Succeeded by L. K. Advani
Member of Parliament for Rae Bareli
Assumed office 17 May 2004
Preceded by Satish Sharma
Member of Parliament for Amethi
In office 10 October 1999 – 17 May 2004
Preceded by Sanjay Singh
Succeeded by Rahul Gandhi
Personal details
Born Edvige Antonia Albina Màino,9 December 1946 (age 69),Lusiana, Veneto, Italy
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Rajiv Gandhi (1969–1991; his death)
Relations Nehru–Gandhi family
Children Rahul Gandhi  Priyanka Gandhi
Residence 10 Janpath, New Delhi
Alma mater Bell Educational Trust
Religion Roman Catholicism
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