Sonia Gandhi, named Edvige Antonia Albina Maino,was born on 9th December 1946. She is an Italian born Indian politician, who has served as President of the Indian National Congress party since 1998. She is the widow of former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi who belonged to the Nehru–Gandhi family. After her husband's assassination in 1991, she was invited by Congress leaders to take over the government but she refused and publicly stayed away from politics amidst constant prodding from the party. She finally agreed to join politics in 1997. In 1998, she was elected President of the Congress party.