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Sonia Gandhi

Category : Politicians
(5 out of 5 based on 35 Ratings)

Sonia Gandhi Biography

•Full name- Antonia Edvige Albina Maino
•Born- 9th December, 1946 in Lusiana Italy
•Political Party- Indian National Congress
•Other political affiliations-United Front (1996- 2004), United Progressive Alliance (2004- present)
•Spouse- Rajiv Gandhi (1969-1991)
•Children- Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra
•Residence- 10 Jan path
• Presently in office- President of  Indian National Congress ( since 1998)
•Post  held (incumbent)-  Chairman of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and  Chairman of National Advisory Council (NAC)
•Political Mandate- MP from Rae Bareilly

Sonia Gandhi proudly features in the list of the most influential in the world today.  For Sonia Gandhi it was never easy being the bearer of the political tradition that has been part of India much before independence. Reluctantly she assumed the political mantle and revived the party that faced one of the most tormented decades in its political history. She revived to political party and played an instrumental role in establishing the party manadate. Especially at a time when political observers had pitted the fallout of the grand old congress. However the party faces a tough litmus test today in terms of the issues that it in incumbency. Her role and decisions today still play a pivotal role in turmoil and uncertaininty.

Sonia Gandhi Early Life- Sonia Gandhi was born Antonia Edvige Albina Maino in a devout Roman Catholic family on the 9th December, 1946 in Lusiana, near the town of Vicenza, in North East Italy.

Lusiana, near the town of Vicenza, in North East Italy - See more at:
Lusiana, near the town of Vicenza, in North East Italy - See more at: She spent the early years of her adolescence in Orbassano a town near Turin in Italy. She went to Bell Education Trust in Cambridge to study English, Rajiv Gandhi  was enrolled in Trinity College at the time. Both met each other at a Greek Restaurants. She worked as a waitress in a restaurant to make ends meet.  The couple started seeing each other and eventually love blossomed.  The couple returned to India and married in 1968 and then moved in to the house the then Prime Minister of the country.

Sonia Gandhi Political Career- Though she was married into the first family of India Sonia was against the opnion of joining politics. Rajiv Gandhi also shared the similar sentiment and refrained from the constant glare of media speculation.  Rajiv Gandhi worked as an airline pilot. The emergency of 1977 saw the oust the Indian National Congress. Rajiv Gandhi's brother Sanjay was pitted as the apparent heir. While the INC managed to regain power in 1980, the tragic death of Sanjay Gandhi shattered the family and moreover Indira Gandhi.  Rajiv Gandhi entered politics around 1982.  Sonia Gandhi involvement in politics began with the death of PM Indira Gandhi.  She actively campaigned against Maneka Gandhi who contested against Rajiv for the Amethi consititency.

Public mandate favored Rajiv Gandhi and he was voted into power by a resounding majority. All this while Sonia played the hostess accompanying her husband on his tours and moreover she got her first exposure to mainline politics. However the Rajiv Gandhi Government was rocked by the Bofors Scandal and a series of events. In 1991 following the assassination of her husband she left out the proposal of joining the government and be named the  PM. PV  Narshimrao replaced  her as prime minister. The Congress fortunes dwindled and the government failed to secure the mandate in the next election. Following the poor show at the polls several senior congressmen revolted against the incumbent president. In all this Sonia refrained from being involved.

As a result of this the congress was split into smaller factions. In an attempt at reviving the fortunes of the party then she joined the congress as a primary member and then accepted the post of Congress Part President in 1998. In 1999 prominent congressmen namely Sharad Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar challenged her on the basis of her nationality and her eligibility to assume office as party president.  However as per the rules an Italian citizen could not hold dual citizenship. This law was later changed in 1992. Sonia Gandhi surrendered her Italian citizenship before the embassy in 1983 she acquired Indian citizenship in the same year. However the three rebels at the time formed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In the same year she contested the Lok Sabha Election and won from her constituency in Bellary, Karnataka defeating her opponent Sushma Swaraj. She was elected as the Leader of Opposition in the 13th Lok Sabha.

As leader of opposition she called on a non confidence motion against the then Atal Bihari Vajypee led NDA government.  In 2004 she launched a nationwide campaign for the general elections. The party cris crossed the country with the slogan of Aaam Aadmi (common Man) with that of BJP India Shinning Campaign. The mandate favored the congress and they recorded a resounding mandate. Sonia also won from her constituency and was unanimously elected to lead the 15 member Cabinet. The NDA protested against naming her as the Prime Minster. As an act of renunciation to some and political gimmick for the later she refused to assume office as PM and senior Congressmen Manmohan Singh was selected as the PM.

On the 23th March, 2006 she resigned  from the lower house and the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) this after 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. As Chairman of NAC she has played an instrumental role in the National Rural Employment Generation Scheme and  the  Right to Information Law.  Under her leadership the congress was voted back to power and secured a total of 206 seats the highest majority to any party since 1991.

Sonia Gandhi Personal Life- She is the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in 1991. She is a practicing Christian to this day. Though there has been a lot of speculations. While Rahul Gandhi has taken formal charge as the General Secretary of the party Priyanka has continued to support her in election campaigning. In 2011 she underwent a surgery for an unspecified ailment at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York. On  being asked about the future of the party and Rahul’s role she stated that it was for him to decide.

Sonia Gandhi Quotes-
On the citizen’s right to Information- “ Regardless of whichever government is in power, each citizen can by law put questions and expect answers from the government.”
Jain Principle in tackling Terrorism-“World is facing problems of violence and terrorism... In such darkness, the light to save humanity is found in the philosophy of Jain religion.”
For Lalu Prasad to support the Women Reservation Bill-“He has seven daughters. I was telling him that within his family there are seven for the Bill.”
Confidence of Government’s Stability- “Mamata Banerjee was quite enthusiastic. DMK has been for the Bill and supported the Prime Minister fully. Pawar also fully supported it. Everyone has supported it. I don't see any problems within the UPA,”
Lack of leadership for UP defeat- “I will say rather than the lack of leadership... actually we have too many leaders. Perhaps that's our problem.”
On present challenges that await parties in States in a lead up to 2014 mandate- “We have Gujarat, then we have Himachal... Karnataka yes... we have to pull our socks up and get going.”

Sonia Gandhi Controversies and Scams- Sonia Gandhi has been no stranger as far as controversy is concerned. Controversies regarding her nationality that has been challenged her at various points in her political career. Whether it was accepting the post of Party president or her selection as PM. The media has also targeted the UPA Chairperson for her inaction of issues that seriously affect her party and the incumbent government in power.  Her detractors have stated her an autocrat in search of power.  Of the recent issues that have embroiled the government including the coal scam and the most recently the case of Robert Vadra she has been accused of being coy and shielding her son in law.

Sonia Gandhi Books- Sonia Gandhi  is the author of Six books  
•Freedoms’ Daughter:  Letters between and  Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (1922-39)
•Two Alone Two gather: Letters between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (1940-64)
•Two Alone
•Rajiv’s World: 9 photographs by Rajiv Gandhi ( co author)
•Journey of a Nation. Indian National Congress: 125 years ( co author)
•Gandhian Way: Peace, Non Violence  and Empowerment ( foreword)

Sonia Gandhi  net worth/ Assets- As per the affidavit filed before the 2009 general elections, Sonia Gandhi has movable assets worth Rs 1.17 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 20 lakhs. Based on this information, Sonia's income can't be more than Rs 60 lakh per annual. There's some dispute about her actual net worth, while Forbes  doesn't list it. And India's National Election Watch  has it listed at about $200,000. (approximately 10576000 INR)

Sonia Gandhi latest News-

Sonia Gandhi honours Awards:
Gandhi was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine in the year 2004 and was ranked 6th in 2007. In 2010, Gandhi ranked as the ninth most powerful person on the planet by Forbes Magazine. She was also named among the Time 100 most influential people in the world for the years 2007 and 2008.The British magazine New Statesman listed Sonia Gandhi at number 29 in their annual survey of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures" in the year 2010.

2008- Honarary Doctorate from Madras University
2009- Order of King Lepold, Governement of Belguim
2006- Honarary Doctorate University of Brussels


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