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Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi (cropped).jpg
President of the Indian National Congress
Assumed office
10 August 2019
Preceded by Rahul Gandhi
In office
14 March 1998 – 16 December 2017
Preceded by Sitaram Kesri
Succeeded by Rahul Gandhi
Chair of the United Progressive Alliance
Preceded by Office established
Chair of the National Advisory Council
In office
29 March 2010 – 25 May 2014
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Position abolished
In office
4 June 2004 – 23 March 2006
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Leader of the Opposition
In office
19 March 1998 – 22 May 2004
Preceded by Sharad Pawar
Succeeded by L. K. Advani
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
Assumed office
2004
Preceded by Satish Sharma
Constituency Rae Bareli
In office
10 October 1999 – 17 May 2004
Preceded by Sanjay Singh
Succeeded by Rahul Gandhi
Constituency Amethi
Personal details
Born
Sonia Maino

9 December 1946 (1946-12-09) (age 73)
Lusiana, Veneto, Italy
Citizenship Italy (1946–1983)
India (1983–present)
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s)
Rajiv Gandhi
(m. 1968; died 1991)
Relations See Nehru–Gandhi family
Children
Residence 10 Janpath, New Delhi
Alma mater Bell Educational Trust
Net worth Indian Rupee 11,82,63,916
Signature

Sonia Gandhi (born 9 December 1946) is an Indian politician. She is the president of the Indian National Congress, the left-of-centre political party, which governed India for most of its post-independence history. She took over as the party leader in 1998, seven years after the assassination of her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, a former Prime Minister of India, and remained in office for nineteen years.

Born in a small village near Vicenza, Italy, Gandhi was raised in a Roman Catholic family. After completing her primary education at local schools, she moved for language classes to Cambridge, England, where she met Rajiv Gandhi, and later married him in 1968. She then moved to India and started living with her mother-in-law, the then-Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, at the latter's New Delhi residence. Sonia Gandhi, however, kept away from the public sphere, even during the years of her husband's premiership.

Following her husband's assassination, Gandhi was invited by Congress leaders to lead the party, but she declined. She agreed to join politics in 1997 after much pleading from the party; the following year, she was nominated for party president, and elected over Jitendra Prasada.

Under her leadership, the Congress went on to form the government post the 2004 elections in coalition with other centre-left political parties. Gandhi has since been credited for being instrumental in formulating the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which was re-elected to power in 2009. Gandhi declined the premiership following the 2004 victory; she instead led the ruling alliance and the National Advisory Council.

Over the course of her career, Gandhi presided over the advisory councils credited for the formation and subsequent implementation of such rights-based development and welfare schemes as the right to information, Food security bill, and MNREGA, as she drew criticism related to the Bofors scandal and the National Herald Case. Her foreign birth has also been a subject of much debate and controversy. Gandhi's active participation in politics began to reduce during the latter half of the UPA government's second term owing to health concerns. She stepped down as the Congress president in December 2017, but returned to lead the party in August 2019. Although she never held any public office in the government of India, Gandhi has been widely described as one of the most powerful politicians in the country, and is often listed among the most powerful women in the world.

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