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Sonia Gandhi turns 69; here's a look at her political journey

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:36 IST

Sonia Gandhi, who turned 69 today, remains a powerful political force in India despite her party -- the Indian National Congress -- losing its appeal of late. For 10 years -- from 2004 to 2014 -- she had been the face of the regime that ruled India, despite Congress loyalist Manmohan Singh leading the party-led coalition government.

Her arrival in India in 1968 as the Italian wife of Rajiv Gandhi, the son of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, to her being compelled to start a reluctant political career after the assassination of her husband in 1991 and finally her unwillingness to be the prime minister when a Congress-led alliance came to power 12 years ago are all a part of the enduring saga of Sonia Gandhi's turbulent life in the country.

-- Born as Sonia Màino in a village in northern Italy on 9 December, 1946.

-- Marries Rajiv Gandhi in Cambridge in 1968 and moves to India.

-- Joins the Congress party in 1997

-- Elevated to post of party president in 1998

- Wins 1999 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi and Bellary, defeating BJP's Sushma Swaraj. Retains Amethi seat.

--Elected leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha

-- Leads the Congress-led UPA to victory, defeating the incumbent BJP-led NDA, in the 2004 general elections.

-- Refuses to be prime minister and instead urges Manmohan Singh to take the top job.

First published: 9 December 2016, 1:59 IST