Sonia Gandhi (born on 9 December 1946) is an Italian-born Indian politician. She is currently the President of the Indian National Congress Party, Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha and the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
"One of the things we are most proud of in India is our democracy. Our democracy holds and has continued to be stable, is because it is representative not just of its people but of Indias pluralist, diverse and rich cultural heritage. This is something that the Congress Party has always stood by and our commitment to the nation and to its people is constantly demonstrated through our policies at the Centre and in the
States." - Soniya Gandhi.
Gandhi was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine in the year 2004 and was ranked 6th in 2007. She was also named among the Time 100 most influential people in the world for the years 2007 and 2008.
In 1964, she went to study English at The Bell Educational Trust's language school in the city of Cambridge. She met Rajiv Gandhi, who was enrolled in Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, in 1965 at a Greek restaurant. Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi married in 1968, following which she moved into the house of her mother-in-law and then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
After the assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi and her refusal of becoming 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, Jayanthi Natarajan were in open revolt against the incumbent President Sitaram Kesri and 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.
Within 62 days of joining of 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. In Bellary she defeated veteran BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj. In 2004 and 2009, she was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.