Sonia Gandhi Biography: Early Life, Education, Political Career, Net Worth, Recognition & More

Sonia Gandhi (Edvige Antonia Albina Maino) is the interim president of the Indian National Congress, India’s left-wing political party. Seven years after the assassination of the then Prime Minister and her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, she assumed leadership of the party in 1998. Sonia acquired Indian citizenship in 1983.

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Sonia Gandhi

Original name

Edvige Antonia Albina Maino


December 9, 1946

place of birth



76 years


Rajiv Gandhi


Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi





Politic party

Indian National Congress

Important position

Longest-serving President of Congress

Opposition leader

Sonia Gandhi: childhood, family and education

Edvige Antonia Albina Maino was born on December 9, 1946 in a small town near Vicenza, Italy, daughter of Stefano and Paola Maino. She was raised in a traditional Roman Catholic Christian family. Sonia’s father, Stefano, was a Manson builder and established a small company in Orbassano. He also fought against the Soviet Army alongside Hitler’s Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in World War II. Stefano was a loyal supporter of Mussolini and the National Fascist Party of Italy.

Sonia completed her studies at the age of 13 and aspired to be a flight attendant. In the year 1964, she went to the Bell Educational Trust language school in Cambridge to learn English after receiving primary education in local Catholic schools.

Sonia Gandhi: personal life

In 1964, he met Rajiv Gandhi at the Varsity rooftop bar in Cambridge while working as a bar boy there. At the time, Rajiv Gandhi was an engineering student at Trinity College, Cambridge University. In 1968, Sonia and Rajiv were married in a Hindu ceremony and moved to India. She began living with her mother-in-law and the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

The couple gave birth to two children: Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. Both Sonia and Rajiv stayed away from politics. Rajiv worked as an airline pilot and Sonia was a housewife then. After the death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi on June 23, 1980, Rajiv Gandhi entered politics in 1982.

Sonia Gandhi: political career

In 1984, Sonia Gandhi entered politics where she campaigned for Rajiv Gandhi in Amethi against her sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi. After Rajiv Gandhi’s five years in office, the Bofors scandal broke out. Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi was involved, according to several reports, and he was believed to be a friend of Sonia Gandhi, who had access to the prime minister’s official residence.

In 1991, following the assassination of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi refused to become Prime Minister and PV Narasimha Rao was appointed Prime Minister of India. In 1996, the Congress lost the elections and several senior leaders left the Congress Party.

Sonia Gandhi joined the Congress Party in 1997 as a member of the Calcutta Plenary Session. She became leader of the party in 1998.

In May 1999, three senior Congress leaders (Sharad Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar) questioned Sonia’s right to become Prime Minister of India due to her foreign origins. As a result, Sonia offered to resign and the members were expelled and subsequently formed the Nationalist Congress Party.

In 1999, Sonia Gandhi contested the Bellary (Karnataka) and Amethi (UP) elections and won both seats, but decided to represent Amethi. In Bellary constituency, Ella Sonia defeated veteran BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

In 1999, Sonia Gandhi was elected Leader of the Opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha.

In the 2004 general election in India, Sonia Gandhi launched a “For Whom India Shines?” campaign. This slogan was against the BJP-led NDA, which had a slogan “India Shining” and in favor of the common people of India. She won the election and was expected to be the next Prime Minister of India. On May 16 she was elected to head the coalition government (of 15 parties) that was named UPA (United Progressive Alliance).

Amid this, veteran BJP leader Sushma Swaraj threatened that if Sonia became Prime Minister of India, she would shave her head and sleep on the floor. The NDA further stated that Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 implies reciprocity.

A few days later, Sonia recommended Manmohan Singha as her choice for Prime Minister and party leaders welcomed her decision. On 23 March 2006, she announced her resignation from the Lok Sabha and also as chairperson of the National Advisory Council in view of the controversy over the for-profit office and speculation that the government was planning to promulgate an ordinance to exempt the charge from president. of the National Advisory Council of the scope of the for-profit office.

In May 2006, Sonia was re-elected in her Rae Bareli constituency by a margin of over 400,000 votes.

Sonia Gandhi played an important role in bringing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Right to Information Act into law. The UN passed a resolution on July 15, 2007 to observe October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence. On October 2, 2007, Sonia Gandhi addressed the United Nations.

The Congress won again in the 2009 general elections, winning 206 Lok Sabha seats under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. Sonia was re-elected for a third term as MP for Rae Bareli.

In the year 2013, Sonia Gandhi became the first person to serve as Congress president for 15 consecutive years. That same year, Gandhi condemned the Delhi High Court judgment upholding section 377 of the IPC and supported LGBT rights.

In the 2014 general election, Sonia won from Rae Bareli, but the parties suffered in the elections. CPI (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury called Sonia the glue that binds her to the opposition during an interview in 2017, when Rahul Gandhi was expected to take over as Congress president. Rahul Gandhi became the president of the 49th Congress on December 16, 2017. Sonia Gandhi returned to active politics for the INC campaign in the 2018 Legislative Assembly elections in Karnataka. She addressed a rally in Bijapur comprising five assembly seats and the Congress won four of the five Bijapur seats.

Under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress lost its second consecutive election in 2019 and subsequently resigned from the post of president. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) met in August and passed a resolution that Sonia Gandhi should take over as interim president until a candidate can be chosen.

In the northeast Delhi riots in February 2020, Sonia Gandhi demanded the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah because he failed to stop the violence.

Sonia Gandhi: net worth

In the year 2014, Sonia Gandhi declared her net worth of Rs 92.8 million: Rs 28.1 million in movable property and Rs 64.7 million in immovable property. This is a nearly six-fold increase since her declaration in the last election.

Sonia Gandhi: Recognitions

1- In March 2013, The Guardian included Sonia Gandhi as one of the fifty best dressed.

2- In 2013, Sonia Gandhi was ranked 21st among the most powerful women in the world and the 9th most powerful woman according to Forbes magazine.

3- In 2012, Sonia Gandhi was ranked 12th on Forbes magazine’s list of most powerful people.

4- In 2010, Sonia Gandhi was listed as the ninth most powerful person on the planet according to Forbes. The same year, New Statesman listed Sonia Gandhi at number 29 in its annual survey of the world’s 50 most influential figures.

5- In 2007, Sonia Gandhi was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine and ranked 6th on the Magazine’s exclusive list.

6- In 2007 and 2008, Sonia Gandhi was on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

7- In 2008, Sonia Gandhi was awarded the Honorary Doctorate (Literature) from the University of Madras.

8- In 2006, Sonia Gandhi received the Order of King Leopold and the Honorary Doctorate from the Government of Belgium and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), respectively.

Sonia Gandhi: books about the interim president of the Congress

1- Sonia Gandhi – An extraordinary life, an Indian destiny (2011), a biography written by Rani Singh.

2- Sonia Gandhi: Date with India by Nurul Islam Sarkar.

3- The Red Sari: Dramatized Biography of Sonia Gandhi (The Red Sari) by Javier Moro

4- Sonia: a biography of Rasheed Kidwai

5- The accidental prime minister of Sanjaya Baru, 2014

Gandhi was seen as India’s most powerful politician between 2004 and 2014, and several magazines have listed her among the most powerful people and women. Sonia Gandhi played an important role in bringing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Right to Information Act, the food security bill and the MNREGA into law.

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