Sonia Gandhi is the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. She was born Sonia Maino in 1946 near Turin, Italy, to a working-class family, and spent her childhood in that region. Her connection with India developed when she met Rajiv Gandhi, the elder son of Indira Gandhi, at a language school in Cambridge, England. They were married in 1968, and Sonia settled in India with her husband. Rajiv worked as a pilot in Indian Airlines, and only his brother Sanjay's death in 1980, in a plane crash, changed the course of his life. He entered into politics, apparently with immense reluctance, a decision that is said to have made Sonia exceedingly unhappy. However, the assassination of her husband in 1991 paved the way for Sonia's entry into public limelight, and senior members of the Congress party, alarmed at the party's declining popularity, sought to revive their fortunes by encouraging her to take an active part in politics. She resisted membership in the Congress, indeed the offer of the presidency of the party for several years, but eventually joined the Congress party in 1997. She became party president in 1998, thereby becoming the fifth member of the Nehru clan -- following Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi -- to hold this important post. Initially she was against joining politics but as time passed she is deeply involved in politics and now she is playing a very important role in congress party.