Sonia and Indira became extremely fond of each other and their fondness only deepened further with time. However, Sonia initially disliked Indian food and clothes and caused controversy when she was photographed wearing a miniskirt. But she spent the becoming steeped in Indian culture. Although she has learned Hindi, she is not a fluent speaker of the language. She keenly observed Indira, as she fought a variety of political battles.
Sonia has also been a witness to a series of tragedies. In , Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for her decision to send troops into their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple. Seven years later, the tragedy struck the Gandhi family again when her husband Rajiv was killed by a Tamil suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumbudur.
Sonia had shown aversion to politics for long. She not only detested politics, but opposed her husband Rajiv entering it and it is said, she had even threatened to divorce Rajiv if he ever entered politics. This was because she feared losing Rajiv. Eventually, after Sanjay Gandhi's death in , Rajiv resigned from Indian Airlines to join politics—a decision believed to have been arrived at after long talks with Sonia.
In , after the death of Indira Gandhi, Sonia became a full-fledged Indian citizen. Since the unfortunate death of her husband and India's former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia led a life of near recluse for six years but for her appearances at a few official functions. She even declined the top job of the Congress organisation offered to her on a platter immediately after the death of her husband on May 21, Barring few political statements, Sonia hid her emotions behind a thick veil of secrecy keeping observers guessing about whether she nursed political intentions at all.
But fawning Congressmen, looking for a charismatic personality to lead the party to electoral success, kept sending their appeals to her to come and take over the party. In , by becoming the president of India's century-old Congress party, Sonia weaved a dramatic way to a place in history.
She is the third woman of foreign origin to hold the prestigious post after Annie Beasant and Nelli Sengupta. She is also the eighth person of the foreign origin to be the Congress president. She is also the dual chief of Indian National Congress and its Parliamentary party, and has emulated her husband, mother-in-law and grandfather-in-law Rajiv, Indira and Nehru who all held the two posts during their career.
Initially seen as a reluctant and almost reclusive politician, Sonia Gandhi was elected to Parliament for the first time in The name 'Gandhi' is still revered in India and Congress looked to Sonia to translate that feeling into votes. Her political opponents attempted to rake up her Italian descent as an election issue saying the choice for voters was between an Indian or foreign leader.
But their appeal to xenophobia apparently fell on deaf ears. After an excruciating spell of suspense, Sonia, who long remained something of an enigma to many, campaigned for the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Observers credit her with preventing a doom for the party, which was not expected to cross even the double digit mark. Her party managed a tally of seats, largely due to her charismatic presence during the campaign. Travelling the length and breadth of the country in a hurricane election tour, Sonia caught the imagination of the masses, by her emotional speeches in Hindi prepared in advance.
Observers commented that Sonia successfully adopted her mother-in-law's mannerism and style in warming her way to large crowds which had turned up at her election rallies.
Sangma , and Tariq Anwar challenged her right to try to become India's Prime Minister because of her foreign origins. In response, she offered to resign [ citation needed ] as party leader, resulting in an outpouring of support and the expulsion from the party of the three rebels who went on to form the Nationalist Congress Party. Within 62 days of joining as a primary member, she was offered the party President post which she accepted. She won both seats but chose to represent Amethi.
She was elected the Leader of the Opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha in In the election, she was re-elected by a ,vote margin over nearest rival, in the Rae Bareli. On 16 May, she was unanimously chosen to lead a party coalition government with the support of the left, which was subsequently named the United Progressive Alliance UPA.
The defeated NDA protested once again her 'foreign origin' and senior NDA leader Sushma Swaraj threatened to shave her head and "sleep on the ground", among other things, should Sonia become prime minister. They pointed, in particular, to Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act of , which they claimed implied 'reciprocity'.
This was contested by others  and eventually the suits were dismissed by the Supreme Court of India. A few days after the election, Gandhi recommended Manmohan Singh as her choice as prime minister, that the party leaders accepted.
Her supporters compared it to the old Indian tradition of renunciation ,  while her opponents attacked it as a political stunt. On 23 March , Gandhi announced her resignation from the Lok Sabha and also as chairperson of the National Advisory Council under the office-of-profit controversy and the speculation that the government was planning to bring an ordinance to exempt the post of chairperson of National Advisory Council from the purview of office of profit.
She addressed the United Nations on 2 October , Mahatma Gandhi 's birth anniversary which is observed as the international day of non-violence after a UN resolution passed on 15 July In , Gandhi became the first person to serve as Congress President for 15 years consecutively. In the general election , she held her seat in Rae Bareli. When Rahul Gandhi was expected to take over as Congress president, Communist Party of India Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury picked Sonia over Rahul, calling her the "glue that binds the opposition"  during an interview November Rahul took over as the 49th Congress president on 16 December, Gandhi returned to active politics for Indian National Congress' campaign for the Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, Having stayed away from campaigning for elections since , Gandhi addressed a rally at Bijapur , which comprised five legislation assembly constituencies; while Congress emerged as the second largest party in the election with 78 seats behind the BJP, the former won four or the five assembly seats from Bijapur.
Sonia is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi , elder son of Indira Gandhi. Sonia has two children, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. Speaking on 18 July , about her son taking a larger role in the party, she said that it is for Rahul to decide. Sonia Gandhi was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March This is an almost six-fold increase since her declaration in the last election.
Gandhi was seen as the most powerful politician of India from - ,  and variously listed among the most powerful people and women listings by magazines. In , Sonia Gandhi was ranked 21st among world's most powerful and 9th most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine.
In , she had been named the third most powerful woman in the world by the same magazine  and was ranked 6th in exclusive list in In , Gandhi ranked as the ninth most powerful person on the planet by Forbes magazine.
Sonia was also named among the Time most influential people in the world for the years  and From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Indian politician of Italian descent. Biography portal India portal. Retrieved 21 May Retrieved 15 December Retrieved 19 December From husband Rajiv's death to son Rahul's elevation".
Retrieved 20 December The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May Retrieved 21 November Retrieved 24 May The Times of India. Retrieved 25 November Retrieved 2 February Civilizing Globalization, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Maino girl who kept her tryst with destiny in India".
Retrieved 19 November Archived from the original on 28 July Retrieved 9 December Il Giornale di Vicenza. Archived from the original on 14 June Archived from the original on 26 April Retrieved 19 July Archived from the original on 4 June Retrieved 12 June Retrieved 11 March Retrieved 1 March Retrieved 27 May Retrieved 30 May Ordinary Italian to powerful Indian".
Archived 23 April at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 23 March Retrieved 12 April Archived from the original on 22 April Retrieved 12 December How to lose it? Archived from the original on 7 January Election Commission of India.
Retrieved 26 March Archived from the original on 9 April Retrieved 20 July Retrieved 26 May Retrieved 6 February Retrieved 6 July
Sonia Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi became the president of Indian National Congress in Sonia Gandhi was born in Italy. Important Points About Sonia Gandhi.
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