My role is to retire, says Sonia



New Delhi, Dec 15: With Rahul Gandhi firmly settled in the saddle, his mother and outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said her role was to retire.


“My role is to retire,” Sonia told reporters outside Parliament.


She will formally pass on the baton to her son Congress president elect Rahul officially tomorrow. Rahul, 47, who was declared president elect on December 11, will be the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to head the Congress.


Sonia, who celebrated her 71 birthday last week, is the longest serving president of the nearly 131year grand old party. She has led the party since 1998.


According to agency reports some years ago, Sonia, during a television interview, had said she wants to enjoy her retired life reading books, spending time with her family.


In 1998, when Sonia took charge of the Congress, chaos and confusion was at its peak in the grand old party. It was a fragmented party that then ruled just four states — Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Mizoram and Nagaland and had 141 members in the Lok Sabha.


The party’s flagging fortunes forced Sonia to come out of self-imposed political hibernation, but within six years she helped steer its fortunes around. In 2004, a Congress-led coalition came to power at the Centre, and at the time, she had famously refused the prime minister’s post, opting to work for the Congress party instead.

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