As Congress scion Rahul Gandhi formally took charge as the new chief of Congress party, it was an emotional moment for the outgoing party President Sonia Gandhi. The 71-year-old political leader held the post for 19-long-years and today passed the baton to his 47-year-old son. Born on December 9, 1946, Sonia Gandhi took over as the party president in 1998, seven years after the assassination of her husband and former prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi congratulated Rahul on taking over as the new party chief. In her farewell speech, she said that 20 years ago she was chosen as the Congress President and was nervous. Sonia said that she didn’t know how would she handle such a big organization. Her hands were trembling as the family had given up their lives for the country’s independence.
“Indira ji taught me about the Indian culture. Her death completely changed me. I wanted to keep my husband and children away from politics. But, my husband had to take up the Prime Minister’s designation. Then, my husband was also killed. I lost my support. It took me years to come out of this. Despite reluctance, I entered politics to serve nation,” said Sonia Gandhi. The outgoing president said that she realised that if she doesn’t take up the charge of the party then Indira ji and Rajiv ji will be hurt. She took it as her duty.
Sonia Gandhi said that there is an environment of fear in the country. “Since 2014 we have been playing the role of opposition, the challenge that we face today, is the biggest one, our constitutional values are being attacked, our party has also lost many elections but our party will never bow down,” she added. “Hum darne walon mein se nahi hain, jhukne wale nahi hain, humara sangharsh is desh ki ruh ke liye sangharsh hai. hum iss se kabhi peeche nahi hatenge (we won’t be scared or bowed down, our struggle is the struggle to maintain the soulk of this country. We will refrain from doing this),” Sonia said while addressing Congress workers. Before passing the baton to his son Rahul, Sonia Gandhi said that he is a stronger person now. “Rahul is my son, so I do not think for me to praise him is right but I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of violence, after joining politics he had to face blatant personal attacks, that have made him a stronger person,” she said.
Sonia Gandhi, who turned 71 on December 9, was even termed as the “super prime minister” by the opposition owing to her alleged influence on the previous UPA government led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Ahead of her son Rahul Gandhi’s slated takeover as the president of the grand old party, Sonia Gandhi, on Friday, told reporters that she might now retire.