New Delhi, Mar 13 : Sonia Gandhi will complete 10 years as Congress President on March 14, becoming the longest serving chief of India's oldest political party. A remarkable feat of political longevity by the standards of Indian politics.
Her decade-long stint was the toughest ever for any leader in the 123-year-old history of the Party, as she was burdened with the task of managing a coalition government for the first time at the Centre, political analysts say.
The high point of her Presidency was the victory of the Congress Party and its allies in the 2004 May Lok Sabha elections after eight years in the wilderness.
Though she was singularly credited for the victory of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, she renounced the post of Prime Minister in favour of her close confidante and renowned economist Manmohan Singh.
Her "sacrifice" took her stature as a political leader to new heights.
The widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi remained in the backstage for nearly seven years after the assassination of her husband in 1991.
As the leadership of P V Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesari could not provide unity among the leaders in the party, she was left with no option but to take over the reins of the party on March 14, 1998 and provide the much needed "rallying" focus for the groupism-torn party.