Ahmedabad: Sonia Gandhi announced her retirement as Congress president on Friday, ahead of her son Rahul taking charge of India’s grand old party. Here’s a look at key moments from her life:

9 December 1946

Born Sonia Maino at Lusiana, Veneto, Italy. Raised in a traditional Roman Catholic Christian family, spends adolescence in Orbassano, near Turin.

Meets Rajiv Gandhi at a restaurant while working part-time as a waitress, while he was enrolled for an engineering degree in Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.


Couple marries in 1968 in a Hindu ceremony, moves in with her mother-in-law, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

19 June 1970

Son Rahul is born.

12 January 1972

Daughter Priyanka is born.


Rajiv Gandhi enters politics, after younger brother Sanjay’s death in a place crash on 23 June 1980.

27 April 1983

Surrenders Italian passport to Italian embassy, as India did not allow dual citizenship at that time.

31 October 1984

Indira Gandhi is assassinated, and Rajiv Gandhi becomes Prime Minister.

21 May 1991

Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. Sonia Gandhi refuses to become prime minister, and P.V. Narasimha Rao is chosen instead. Congress fortunes continue to dwindle over next few years. cn31087

April 1998

Becomes Congress national president, going on to serve in the post for the longest time.


Becomes leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.


Recommends Manmohan Singh for prime minister after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) wins general election.


Named third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.


Ranked as ninth most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine.


Son Rahul becomes Congress party vice-president, takes over leadership role as Sonia becomes less active in political affairs.

4 December 2017

Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers for Congress president post.

11 December 2017

Congress declares Rahul Gandhi new party president in absence of other nominees.

15 December 2017

Sonia Gandhi announces retirement as party president.

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