Mallikarjun Kharge, the first non-Gandhi party chief in 24 years, presented the framed photograph of Rajiv Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi at the AICC headquarters. Party workers cheered as the once reclusive Sonia Gandhi, who headed the party for almost 20 years, held the picture of her husband aloft.
In her emotive social media post showing a photograph of both her parents, Priyanka Gandhi said, “So proud of you Ma, no matter what the world says or thinks, I know, you did it all for love.”
In a statement of gratitude to Sonia Gandhi read out by Congress leader Ajay Maken at the event, the party said she has recognised and assimilated India in its various forms and in its unfathomable socio-cultural-geographical totality.
“She derives her political inspiration from the profound love she feels for this great country. The people also returned the same love and trust to her,” it said.
“With her intervention, she made the politics of the party relevant and flexible according to the need of the hour and whenever the need arose, she took difficult and far-reaching decisions and laid the foundation for the future,” the statement said.
Sonia Gandhi is the longest serving president of the party. She helmed it from 1998-2017 and then as interim chief from 2019-22.
Rajiv Gandhi married Antonia Màino from Italy In 1968. She later changed her name to Sonia Gandhi and made India her home.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21 1991, at Sriperumbudur. Sonia Gandhi stayed resolutely away from politics. It was only in 1997 that she entered politics, becoming party chief the following year.