Sonia Gandhi Celebrates her 70th Birthday : Sonia Gandhi born Edvige Antonia Albina Màino, 9 December 1946 is an Italian-born Indian politician, who is the serving President of the Indian National Congress party since 1998. She is the widow of former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi who belonged to the Nehru–Gandhi family.
Sonia Gandhi’s involvement with Indian public life began after the assassination of her mother-in-law and her husband’s election as India’s Prime Minister.
After her husband’s assassination in 1991, she was invited by Congress leaders to take over the government but she refused and publicly stayed away from politics amidst constant prodding from the party.
She finally agreed to join politics in 1997; in 1998, she was elected President of the Congress party.
Sonia Gandhi Celebrates : Her Life
She was born to Stefano and Paola Maino in Contrada Màini , at Lusiana, a little village 30 km from Vicenza in Veneto. In 1964, she went to study English at the Bell Educational Trust’s language school in the city of Cambridge.In 1965 at a Greek restaurant (the Varsity Restaurant in Cambridge) she met Rajiv Gandhi, who was enrolled in Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. In this context, the Times, London reported, “Mrs Gandhi was an 18-year-old student at a small language college in Cambridge in 1965, making ends meet by working as a waitress in the Varsity restaurant, when she met a handsome young engineering student.”Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi married in 1968, in a Hindu ceremony following which she moved into the house of her mother-in-law and then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modis’ Birthday Message
Birthday wishes to Smt. Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with a long life filled with good health.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 9, 2016
Sonia Gandhi : Longest Serving President
She has served as the Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha since 2004. In September 2010, on being re-elected for the fourth time, she became the longest serving president in the 125-year history of the Congress party.
She is the fifth foreign-born person to be leader of the Congress Party, she is the first since independence in 1947.
Sonia Gandhi : Not to be the Prime Minister
After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 and Sonia Gandhi refused to become Prime Minister, the party settled on the choice of P. V. Narasimha Rao who became leader and subsequently Prime Minister. Over the next few years, however, the Congress fortunes continued to dwindle and it lost the 1996 elections. Several senior leaders such as Madhavrao Sindhia, Rajesh Pilot, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Arjun Singh, Mamata Banerjee, G. K. Moopanar, P. Chidambaram and Jayanthi Natarajan were in open revolt against incumbent President Sitaram Kesri and many of whom quit the party, splitting the Congress into many factions.
In an effort to revive the party’s sagging fortunes, she joined the Congress Party as a primary member in the Calcutta Plenary Session in 1997 and became party leader in 1998.
In May 1999, three senior leaders of the party (Sharad Pawar, P. A. 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 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.
Sonia Gandhi : President of UPA
Within 62 days of joining as a primary member, she was offered the party President post which she accepted. She contested Lok Sabha elections from Bellary, Karnataka and Amethi, Uttar Pradesh in 1999. She won both seats but chose to represent Amethi.
In Bellary, she had defeated veteran BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj.
Sonia Gandhi : Power House World Over
In 2013, Sonia Gandhi was overall ranked 21st and 3rd most powerful woman in Forbes powerful list.
Before that in 2007, Gandhi was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine and was ranked 6th in exclusive list in 2007.
In 2010, Gandhi ranked as the ninth most powerful person on the planet by Forbes magazine.Sonia was ranked 12 in 2012 in Forbes’ powerful people list.
Sonia was also named among the Time 100 most influential people in the world for the years 2007 and 2008.New Statesman listed Sonia Gandhi at number 29 in their annual survey of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures” in the year 2010.
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