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50 People Who Matter 2010 | 29. Sonia Gandhi

Mother superior.

On 3 September, India's most powerful politician was elected to a record fourth term as president of the ruling Congress Party.

Italian-born Sonia, widow of the assassinated former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, declined the chance to become prime minister herself in 2004, nominating the current premier, Manmohan Singh, instead.

Her son, Rahul - who played an important role in her most recent victory - is widely seen as being groomed to replace Singh. The matriarch of the Gandhi dynasty is keeping her grip on power.

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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter