|Though, Sonia Gandhi actively involved herself with public life after her husband Rajiv Gandhi became Congress General Secretary and contesed election from Amethi parliamentary segment in 1981.
When bodygourds of Indira Gandhi opened fire at her, leading to her death, Sonia Gandhi was the person who took her to AIIMS. But, Indira Gandhi could not survive.
After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984 and Sonia Gandhi acted as his host for official guests and also accompanied him on a number of state visits.
In the general election of 1985, when Congress got a landslide victory under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi campaingend actively in Amethi.
In 1989 general election, Congress lost majority in the House, though it was still a single largest party. Rajiv Gandhi refused to form the govrnment and dicided to sit in opposition. Coalition governments of V P Singh and Chandrashekhar could not fulfill its full term and mid-term election was held in 1991. But unfortunately, Rajiv Gandhi was assasinated in an election rally in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
After the assisination of Rajiv Gandhi, he was declared elected from Amethi but the seat was declared vccant. Instead of contesting election from Amethi at that time, Sonia Gandhi refused to enter the politics and sent Satish Sharma as family representative to contest election. Satish Sharma became the Member of Parliament from Amethi.
During this period she remained aloof from politics and paid attention to her family.
In an effort to revive the party’s sagging fortunes, she joined the Congress Party as a primary member in the Calcutta Plenary Session in 1997 and became party President in 1998.
She contested Lok Sabha elections from Bellary and Amethi in 1999. She retained Amethi and resigned from Bellary.She was elected as the Leader of the Opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999.
Under her leadership, Congress experimented alliance politics first time at national level in 2004 general elections and it proved quite successful. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) was born with many regional parties coming under its umbrella in the leadership of Congress. In 2004, Sonia Gandhi contested the election from Raebareli parliamentary constituency. In this general election, she launched a nationwide campaign, criss-crossing the country on the Aam Aadmi slogan in contrast to the ‘India Shining’ slogan of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In the election, she won by a large margin from Raebareli constituency. Following the defeat of the NDA, she was widely expected to be the next Prime Minister of the country. She was unanimously chosen to lead a 15-party coalition with the support of the Left.But Sonia Gandhi showed the great example of runuciation and declined to become the Prime Minister. She recommended noted economist Dr Manmohan Singh for the Prime Minister’s post and Dr. Singh became the Prime Minister of India.
She paid great attention in reviving the party and stregthening the party organisation.
She became the Chairperson of of National Advisory Council. On 23 March 2006 but she announced her resignation from the Lok Sabha on the office-of-profit issue when the opposition made a hue and cry over it.She was re-elected from her constituency Raebareli in May 2006 by a huge margin of over 400,000 votes.
As chairperson of the National Advisory Council and the UPA chairperson, she played an important role in making the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA) and the Right to Information Act (RTI) into law.
She addressed the United Nations on 2 October 2007, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary which is observed as the International day of non-violence after a UN resolution passed on 15 July 2007.
Under her leadership, the Congress-led UPA bounced back to power in the 2009 general elections with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. She was again elected from Raebareli with a huge margin. The Congress itself won 206 Lok Sabha seats, which was the highest total by any party since 1991.