Sonia Gandhi is a former president of the Indian National Congress. She is the Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of the ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance. Mrs. Gandhi was born in Italy on December 9, 1946. After her early education, she attended a foreign language school where she studied English, French and Russian. She met Rajiv Gandhi in Cambridge where she was doing an English language course. They were married in New Delhi in 1968. She has a son, Rahul, a daughter, Priyanka, and two grandchildren. Mrs. Gandhi spent most of her married life largely as a private citizen looking after her family. She was a companion to her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, during many of her official duties and frequently acted as her hostess. During the years 1984 to 1991 when her husband was Prime Minister and then briefly leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, she assumed a limited public role, mostly accompanying him on his tours in the country and abroad. At the same time, she looked after his parliamentary constituency, Amethi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, concentrating on health-care camps and other welfare activities.
After the assassination of her husband in May 1991, she set up the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, a non-governmental organization, and its associated think-tank, the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies. As Chairperson of these, she kept herself occupied in their activities which commemorate her husband�s legacy. She also heads a number of other NGOs.
Shortly before the Lok Sabha elections in 1998, in response to widespread demands from Congress Party rank and file, she entered public life. She campaigned vigorously on behalf of the party and became the President of the Indian National Congress Party in April 1998.
Mrs. Gandhi was first elected a Member of Parliament from the Amethi parliamentary constituency in 1999, following which she became Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. In the 2004 General Elections, she led the electoral campaign of her Party which secured the largest number of seats. This enabled the Congress Party to form a coalition government [UPA]. In this election, she was elected as a Member of Parliament from Rae Bareily in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress Party unanimously elected her as its leader in Parliament, and she was therefore expected to be sworn in as Prime Minister. However, she declined to accept the position and nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh to lead the coalition government. Apart from being the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, she is the leader of the Congress Party in Parliament.
She was also the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) till May 2006, a forum that made periodic recommendations to the government in areas of socio-economic importance. Among the initiatives that have resulted in official action were NAC's recommendations relating to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Right to Information Act, the National Rural Health Mission, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission and the National Rehabilitation Policy. Following the resignation of Rahul Ghandhi as the Congress party preseident after INC suffered a huge blow in the 2019 general elections, Sonia Gandhi stepped in as the interim president.
Disclaimer: The information relating to the candidate is an archive based on the self-declared affidavit filed at the time of elections. The current status may be different. For the latest on the candidate kindly refer to the affidavit filed by the candidate with the Election Commission of India in the recent election.