Free Press Journal

Sonia Gandhi’s political journey: From reluctant politician to Congress’ high command


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Sonia Gandhi, president of Indian National Congress (INC) will be retiring today from her post as party president and Rahul Gandhi on December 16, 2017, will formally take over as new Congress President. Mrs Gandhi’s political journey has seen lots of ups and downs and it would be fair to say that Sonia Gandhi has seen it all and now the time has come for the new generation to take over and it will be for the future generations to determine Sonia Gandhi’s political legacy.

Sonia Maino was born in a small village near Vicenza, Italy. Gandhi was raised in a Roman Catholic Christian family. After completing her primary education at local schools, she moved to Cambridge for higher education and married Rajiv Gandhi in 1968. She later took up Indian citizenship and began living with her mother-in-law, the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, at the latter’s New Delhi residence. Sonia Gandhi, however, continued to stay away from the public sphere, even during the years of her husband’s premiership and has two children in Rahul and Priyanka.

1. Marriage with Rajiv Gandhi: Sonia Gandhi had no connection with Indian politics and fell in love with India’s Rajiv Gandhi. The relationship was like a typical love story and Rajiv Gandhi took the final step and got married to young Sonia at the age of 22 and Sonia became part of India’s most political and dynast family.

2. Daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi: After the marriage, Sonia Gandhi not only became the wife of Rajiv Gandhi but also the daughter-in-law of India’s all-powerful Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the stakes were suddenly raised. From leaving a peaceful life in a small town of Italy to be part of a political family associated with India’s governance, the change was sudden and Sonia took time to adjust to the changes.

3. The assassination of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi: Sonia Gandhi was finally settling into India’s culture and ethos, but suffered a devastating loss of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Both the deaths were political assassinations and it left a pretty big scar on Mrs Gandhi and had long-term effects on her life.

4. Unexpected emergence as Congress President: Congress in the 1990s was losing force as a political party and drastic steps were needed to be taken to revive the grand old party. Mrs Gandhi was pushed in a corner and despite being averse to the idea of entering hardcore politics became INC president in 1998 and rest they say is history.

5. The legacy of Sonia Rajiv Gandhi: Life is not fair and Sonia Gandhi for the past 19 years has fought a battle to keep India and Congress united and faced challenges which took a lot out of her. The legacy will be written in due course of time but the girl from Italy adopted India wholeheartedly and proved that she is a secular Indian and has always believed in the Indian Republic.