Gandhi, Sonia(gän`dē), 1946–, Indian politician, b. Turin, Italy, as Sonia Maino. She met Rajiv GandhiGandhi, Rajiv
, 1944–91, prime minister of India (1984–89). Oldest son of Indira Gandhi, he flew for Indian Airlines until his brother died in 1981 and he was drafted into politics by his mother.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1965 when they were students in Cambridge, England. They were married in 1968 and settled in his family home in India. Sonia Gandhi, who became an Indian citizen in 1983, was close to her mother-in-law, Prime Minister Indira GandhiGandhi, Indira
, 1917–84, Indian political leader; daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. She served as an aide to her father, who was prime minister (1947–64), and as minister of information in the government of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964–66).
..... Click the link for more information. , accompanying her on many trips throughout India. When Indira was assassinated (1984) and succeeded as prime minister by Rajiv, Sonia remained in the background. When Rajiv, too, was assassinated (1991), she continued to shun political life. She finally entered the public arena in 1998, campaigning for the faltering Congress party (see Indian National CongressIndian National Congress,
Indian political party, founded in 1885. Its founding members proposed economic reforms and wanted a larger role in the making of British policy for India.
..... Click the link for more information. ); she was instrumental in Congress's winning an increased number of seats in parliament and was elected head of the party. In the 1999 elections Gandhi won a seat in parliament but failed to lead Congress in a return to power. When the 2004 elections resulted in a surprise victory for Congress and its allies, she chose not to become prime minister but remained the influential leader of the party. She resigned from parliament in 2006 when opposition politicians sought to have her disqualifed because she also headed the National Advisory Council (NAC), an unsalaried government post that nonetheless could be considered an "office of profit" and subject her to parliamentary disqualification. At the same time she also resigned her NAC post. She subsequently won reelection (2006, 2009, 2014) to parliament, and later also served again (2010–14) as head of the NAC. Despite critics who object to her Italian birth, Sonia Gandhi, along with her son, Rahul, and daughter, Priyanka, have been generally popular heirs to the NehruNehru, Jawaharlal
, 1889–1964, Indian statesman, b. Allahabad; son of Motilal Nehru. A politician and statesman of great skill, Nehru was enormously popular in India.
..... Click the link for more information. family dynasty.