New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi, 63, was chosen as the President of the ruling Congress party for the fourth time on Friday. Gandhi, who was flanked by the PM Manmohan Singh, thanked her party colleagues for the “great responsibility”.
This has made her the longest serving party president in the 125-year history of the Grand Old Party of India.
In a ceremony held in the national capital, Oscar Fernandes, a senior party leader, announced the unanimous election of Sonia as the AICC chief.
“She has been re-elected as fourth President under Article-18 of Constitution,” he said, while formally announcing the decision and handing over the certificate of election.
Addressing the workers after being elected, Sonia said, “The workers have elected me as the Party- President. I have always realized that it is a very great responsibility to serve the country as Congress President.”
She promised that she would work hard to keep the party flag flying high.
“We will always take our country forward. Jai Hind. Thanks,” she concluded.
Central ministers, party general secretaries, chief ministers of Congress-ruled states and Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs had submitted the nomination papers with Sonia Gandhi`s name at the party headquarters, sources said.
Among them were Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, veterans Motilal Vora and K. Karunakaran. They submitted the nominations to the Congress` chief electoral authority Oscar Fernandes.
Before submission of the nomination papers, Sonia gave her consent to being re-elected to the post at her 10 Janpath residence. Senior Congress leaders from all states presented her the nomination papers for acceptance.
Sonia Gandhi, who is also chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), first became Congress president in 1998.