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Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi, who stepped down as Congress president in 2017, was the longest-serving president of country's oldest political party Indian National Congress. She was succeeded by her son Rahul Gandhi. Sonia was appointed as Congress chief in 1998. She is the wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in 1991. Born in Italy, she married Rajiv Gandhi in 1968 and moved to India after that. Sonia remained away from public life but joined politics after constant prodding by Congress leaders after the assassination of her husband. She also faced immense opposition because of her foreign origin. Her right to become the prime minister of the country was also challenged by leaders from within the party including Sharad Pawar. After Sonia offered to resign from the position, support grew for her and Pawar, along with two other leaders, was expelled from the party. She was ranked the third most powerful woman by Forbes in 2013.

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