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Woman Politician in India


Sonia Gandhi is inseparable from the Indian political scenario. But ironic as it may sound, she is born and brought up in Louisiana, from Veneto region, in Italy. She was born on 9th December, 1946. She has served as the President of the Indian National Congress for twenty years (from March of 1998 till December of 2017).  She has fought the election in the constituency of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh consecutively in the elections of 2009 and 2014 – won both times. Currently, she is among the supervisory body of the National Congress as her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are fighting elections.

Personal history:

Sonia Gandhi, born in the Veneto region in Italy, in Contrada Miami, moved to Orbassano in Turin. In 1964, Sonia, originally Antonia Edvige Albina Maino, went to study in a language school undertaken by Bell Education Trust in Cambridge. There, Sonia met Rajiv Gandhi, the elder son of Indira Gandhi, who went there to study Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College.

The two got married in 1968, according to the Hindu rituals. After marriage, they shifted to the house of Sonia’s mother in-law, Rajiv’s mother’s house – Indira Gandhi, erstwhile Prime Minister of India. Sonia bore two children, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. After the assassination of Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv was persuaded to quit his profession as a pilot to join the Congress Party in 1982. Later, in 1984, after the demise of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv’s mother, Rajiv took the helm of the National Party. 

Early years into politics:

In this decade when Rajiv was monitoring the party’s activities and various campaigns all around the country, Sonia remained in the background, silently doing works that interested her. For instance, she involved herself with art restoration activities to ensure the restoration of the dying cultural heritage of this country. But in 1991, after Rajiv’s assassination, she was not left with much options than to take the helm of the party. Finally, she joined the party in 1997 and remained the president for twenty years, till 2017, after which, her son Rahul Gandhi took over. 

Facts and achievements as a politician:

Sonia Gandhi became the president from a mere party member within two months of joining the National Congress. In 1999, she defeated Bhartiya Janta Party’s senior leader Sushma Swaraj in the constituency of Bellary in Lok Sabha election. 

As a political opposition, BJP launched “India Shining” slogan was trumped by Sonia Gandhi’s “Aam Aadmi” slogan. This has shown how shrewd Sonia Gandhi is as a politician. It also shows that, despite being of an Italian origin, she had a keen understanding of the Indian working class population – the so-called “Aam Aadmi” crowd which holds the truth of the country – not some sparing development projects accounted for in the “India Shining” slogan. 

She was again elected as a Parliament member from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh twice consecutively, in 2004 and in 2009. In 1999, Sonia Gandhi became the leader of Opposition to fight the NDA government that was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee led BJP. She, having the twenty-year long tenure as the president of the Congress Party, is also the longest serving President in the history of the Party. 

Sonia was confident about becoming the next prime minister but NDA government attacked her vehemently because her origin was Italian. In 2004, she won from the Rae Barelly with a great margin and United Progressive Alliance government was formed, consisting of fifteen different parties under the umbrella of UPA.

The two achievements she has ensured during her tenure as a chairperson are the Right to Information Act (RTI Act), which is instrumental in ensuring right of a citizen in knowing the truth of any State affairs ; and the other is the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA Scheme), this scheme being one watershed moment in the country’s employment scenario, ensuring jobs and a way to earn for each and every citizen.  Sonia Gandhi declared resignation from her designation as a Chairperson of both the National Advisory Committee and the UPA government after the controversy rose concerning the office of profit. The Chairperson’s post will be moved from the purview of the National Advisory Council if it is still connected to the office of profit, rumours had it 

Sonia Gandhi brought Manmohan Singh, an economist from Harvard University and appointed him as the Prime minister for the second time, after the UPA government possessed 206 seats in Lok Sabha in General election of 2009. This is the highest occupancy by a party after the election of 1991. On 2nd of October - which is also marked as Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday - Sonia Gandhi addressed United Nations and passed a resolution so that the day is considered and celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. ‘Ahimsa’ or Non-violence is also the official ideology of the National Congress and have been reflected numerous times in Sonia Gandhi’s words and activities. 


When the country was mad over the Buford scandal, an Italian businessman, Octavio Quattrocchi, was believed to be Sonia Gandhi’s friend and consequently had a connection and special access to the Prime Minister’s office.  In 1980, her name appeared in the voter’s list, but she was not yet an Indian citizen. This was violation of the law and constitution of India and was seen as the exercise of supreme power of the State. This same controversy resurfaced again in 1983. The registration was closed in January for the voter’s list and she acquired her citizenship in April of the same year. Three senior party leader, Pawar, Anwar and Sangma questioned her credibility as a prime minister. Sonia Gandhi promptly declared her resignation. But later, she garnered a lot fo support and ultimately the three leaders who showed dissent had to leave the Party.

Awards and recognition:

Forbes magazine mentioned Sonia Gandhi as the third most influential woman in this planet in the issue that came out in 2004. In 2007, Forbes mentioned her name again in the same category, only a few names below, as the seventh most influential woman. Sonia Gandhi was awarded with an honorary D.Litt. by the University of Brussels, in 2006. Sonia Gandhi was awarded with Honorary Doctor of Literature by the University of Madras in the year of 2008. Time included her among the hundred most influential persons in the world consecutively in 2007 and 2008. New Statesman, a British magazine mentioned her among its list of fifty influential people in the world.


Sonia Gandhi is one of the most influential politicians of our age. After the trade liberalization, when india was struggling to find their own place in the intruding big investors and shifting industrial tendencies, it was Sonia Gandhi who firmly managed the State and its vulnerable tendencies. Despite her different origin, she was keen on understanding Indian culture and political ideologies. She was intelligent and sensible. She was firm and manipulative. She was never trained to become a politician, it was only by chance that she had such a successful political career. Yet, she did her duties like someone who had a long training in politics. Sonia Gandhi will remain an example for the future generations of the entire world.

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