Age: 75 Years
Hometown: Lusiana, Italy
|Real Name||Edvige Antonia Albina Màino|
|Political Party||Indian National Congress (INC)
|Political Journey||• In 1997, she joined Indian National Congress as a Primary Member.
• In 1998, she became Party Leader of Indian National Congress.
• In 1999, she contested Lok Sabha elections from Amethi Uttar Pradesh and Bellary Karnataka and won both the seats.
• In 1999, she was elected Leader of the Opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha.
• In the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections, she won the Lok Sabha seat from Raebareli Uttar Pradesh.
• On 16 May 2004, she was chosen the leader of a 15-party coalition government named as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
• In 2006, she was re-elected from her constituency Raebareli Uttar Pradesh.
• In 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, she was re-elected from Raebareli constituency for the third term.
• In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, she won the Lok Sabha seat from Raebareli for the 4th term.
• In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, she retained her seat of Raebareli by defeating BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh by 1,67,178 votes.
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 163 cm
in meters- 1.63 m
in Feet Inches- 5’ 4”
|Eye Colour||Hazel Brown|
|Hair Colour||Salt & Pepper|
|Blood Group||B (-ve)|
|Date of Birth||9 December 1946|
|Age (as of 2021)||75 Years|
|Birthplace||Lusiana, Veneto, Italy|
|Hometown||Lusiana, Italy (she has been living in New Delhi, since her marriage)|
|School||Attended a Catholic School in Orbassano, a town near Turin, Italy|
|College/University||• Istituto Santa Teresa via Santa Teresa, 10 Turin, Italy
• Lennox Cook School, Cambridge
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Three Years Course in Foreign Languages (English & French) in 1964 at Istituto Santa Teresa via Santa Teresa, 10 Turin
• Certificate in English from Lennox Cook School, Cambridge in 1965
|Family||Father- Stefano Maino
Mother- Paola Maino (she passed away at her home in Italy on 27 August 2022) The Hindu
Sisters- Anushka (elder), Nadia (younger)
|Hobbies||Traveling, Reading, Cooking, Yoga, Interest in Modern Art|
|Controversies||• Throughout her career, she has been criticized for her involvement to cover-up the Bofors scam.
• During the tenure of Manmohan Singh's government, she was criticized for being the Super PM.
• She was also accused of helping her aid Ahmed Patel whose name appeared in the Augusta Westland chopper scam.
• She had to face embarrassment when her son-in-law's name (Robert Vadra) appeared in the real estate scam.
• In 2016, she had to appear in court in the National Herald Case in which she is accused of violating Income Tax Act 1961.
• National Herald Case: In 2012, Subramanian Swamy brought this case in a trial court. According to Swamy, the Gandhis took over Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publishing house of the National Herald started by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, to try to acquire more than 20bn rupees in property assets by using Congress party funds. In 2008, the National Herald was shut down; at that time, AJL owed the Congress an accumulated debt of 900m rupees. In 2010, the Gandhis launched a non-profit company named Young India Private Limited and assigned the debt owed by AJL to this company. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi each own 38% of Young India Private Limited as its board of directors, and the remaining 24% is owned by Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, journalist Suman Dubey and entrepreneur Sam Pitroda. In June 2022, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Mr Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi to explain allegations of money laundering. BBC
|Boys, Affairs and More|
|Marriage Date||25 February 1968|
|Affairs/Boyfriends||Franco Luison (Italian footballer, she allegedly dated him in the 60s; before she met Rajiv Gandhi)
|Husband||Rajiv Gandhi, Former Indian Prime Minister
|Children||Son- Rahul Gandhi (Indian member of Parliament)
Daughter- Priyanka Gandhi (Indian Politician)
|Car||Nil (as per her affidavit filed in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections)|
|Salary (as a Member of Parliament)||Rs. 1 Lakh + Other Allowances|
|Assets/Properties||Bank Deposits: Rs. 16.59 Lakh
Bonds & Shares: Rs. 2.75 Crore
Gold Jewellery: 1267.30 gm Gold Worth Rs. 24 Lakh
Silver Jewellery: 88 kg Silver worth Rs. 35 Lakh
Agricultural Land: Worth Rs. 7.29 Crore (a 3 bigha land in village Deramandi, New Delhi & a 12 bigha land in Village Sultanpur, Mehrauli, New Delhi)
Residential Building: Share in the inherited property in Italy (value not given)
|Net Worth (approx.)||Rs. 11.82 Crore (as of 2019)|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Sonia Gandhi
- Her father, Stefano Maino, fought alongside Hitler’s Army against the Soviet Military on the eastern front in World War II.
- Most of her adolescence was spent in Orbassano, a town near Turin in Italy and her mother and 2 sisters still live around Orbassano.
- Her school was famous for organizing various functions and she took part in most of them.
- In her childhood, she was very fond of Football and used to play football with the children of her neighbourhood.
- In 1965, she went to the United Kingdom at the age of 18.
- At the age of 18, she met Rajiv Gandhi first at the Varsity Restaurant in Cambridge in 1965. Rajiv Gandhi was pursuing his Mechanical Engineering at Trinity College at that time.
- At first, her father was very reluctant about her marriage with Rajiv Gandhi as he was a foreigner and belonged to an alien country to him.
- When Rajiv Gandhi had scheduled her first meeting with his mother, Indira Gandhi, in London, Sonia Gandhi was so nervous that Rajiv had to reschedule her meeting with his mother.
- Her first visit to India was on 13 January 1968 and she was fetched by Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, and Amitabh Bachchan at the Delhi airport.
- Before her marriage, she was staying with the Bachchans at their Wellington Crescent House.
- Sonia got engaged to Rajiv on 26 January 1968 (Republic Day of India) and got married to him On 25 February 1968, Vasant Panchami Day, the same day when Indira married Feroz Gandhi decades earlier.
- Her Mehandi Ceremony (a day before the marriage) took place at the Bachchans house.
- Before her marriage, she was well-versed in French and after her marriage, she learned Hindi, initially with a tutor at home and later at an institute.
- After her marriage, Rajiv and Sonia were often seen zipping around on a Lambretta scooter on the roads of Delhi.
- She had a miscarriage before her first child, Rahul, was born.
- Sonia has a great bonding with her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi whom she loved as her own mother.
- It was Sonia who first saw Indira Gandhi in blood-ridden when she was assassinated on 31 October 1984.
- After Indira’s death, when Rajiv was asked to become the Prime Minister of India, depressed Sonia begged him not to accept the post as she feared that he would be killed too.
- Her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, was brutally assassinated in 1991 at an election rally at Seriperimbudur in Tamil Nadu, and after his death; she led a life of a recluse for almost 6 years.
- After much persuasion by her colleagues and other Congress workers, she joined politics in 1997.
- She has authored two books- Rajiv, and Rajiv’s World.
- There is a temple with an idol of Sonia Gandhi in Mahbubnagar district, Telangana. The temple was made by P Shankar Rao, a former minister, who wanted to give thanks to Sonia Gandhi for her party’s decision to create a separate Telangana state. The 9ft (2.7m) idol of Ms. Gandhi is given the shape of ‘Telangana Talli’ (Mother Telangana). Outlook