Sonia Gandhi Biography
The person ruling our nation today, Sonia Gandhi was born on 9th December 1946 to Stefno and Paola Maino in Lusiana, a village 30 km from Italy. She spent her growing up years in Orbassano attending a Catholic School. In 1964 she went to study English at the Bell Educational Trust’s language school in the city of Cambridge. She met her love Rajiv Gandhi, who was enrolled in Trinity College at a Greek Restaurant while working as a waitress because of financial problems. They married in 1968 and she moved into the house of her mother-in-law and then Prime Minister ‘Indira Gandhi’.
Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi had two children ‘Rahul Gandhi’ and ‘Priyanka Vadra’. They preferred to keep out of politics inspite of belonging to an influencial family. Rajiv Gandhi worked as an airplane pilot and his wife took care of the household but was forced to enter the dicey field of politics when his brother died in a plane crash in 1980 but Sonia chose to attend only to her children. Indira Gandhi’s assassination compelled her daughter-in-law to take charge as the official hostess of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She accompanied him on a number of state visits. She has always been the centre of speculations.
After the five year tenure of her husband as the Prime Minister, the Bofors Scandal broke out in which an Italian businessman, a friend of Sonia Gandhi was believed to be involved. In 1980, her name appeared on the voter’s list violating Indian laws because she still has Italian citizenship. In April 1983, she acquired Indian citizenship and her name on the voter’s list was included but again the issue cropped up because the deadline for registering for January 1983.
The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and her refusal to accept the position of the Prime Minister made the party to appoint P.V Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister but the Congress influence began dwindling and it lost the 1996 elections. Several senior leaders revolted against the President and split up the congress into many factions.
To save the party, Sonia joined Congress as a primary member in 1997 and became the party leader in 1998. She contested the Lok Sabha elections in 1999 and defeated BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in Bellary. She was also elected the leader of opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999. In 2004 elections her focus on the ‘Aam Aadmi’ against the ‘India Shining’ slogan of BJP took the hearts of the middle class Indians and she won by a large margin in Rae Bareilly constituency.
On 16th May, she was unanimously chosen to lead a 15 party Coalition government with the support of the left which was named the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Manmohan Singh was elected as the Prime Minister a few days after the election. As the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee and the UPA, she played an important role in making the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Right to Information Act into law.
She was the third most powerful woman in the world in 2004 and seventh in 2007 as indicated in the Forbes magazine. Named among the 100 most influential people in the world for the years 2007 and 2008, she was also the ninth most powerful person on the planet in 2010 in the Forbes magazine. She continues to rule India and her party with ease.