New Delhi, December 15: Sonia Gandhi on Friday retired as Congress President. The development came a day before Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi will formally take the party’s charge on Saturday. Under her 19-year leadership, the Congress had won consecutive Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009.Also Read - Zee Opinion Poll For Kumaun (Uttarakhand): Congress Emerges as Single Largest Party; AAP Likely To Win 10 Seats

“Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics. Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted. Also Read - #ZeeNewsOpinionPoll: Congress Just Ahead Of BJP in Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat Most Popular CM Choice | Highlights

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Sonia also held the positions of UPA chairperson and head of the Congress Parliamentary board. With Sonia’s retirement, questions are being raised on who will lead the UPA and contest from her Parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli. She was the longest serving Congress president but was keeping unwell for quite sometime.

The party has clarified that Sonia will decide for herself the role she wants to take up now as time and again, questions are being raised on Rahul’s leadership skills. And it is to be seen whether Rahul will lead the UPA or a party leader will step in her shoes.

Sonia took the primary membership of the party in 1997 and campaigned vigorously in 1998 Lok Sabha Sabha elections. She was first elected as an MP from Amethi in 1999, following which she became Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

In the 2004 General Elections, she led her party which successfully formed a coalition government (UPA) at the Centre. The 2009 Lok Sabha elections witnessed a repeat of 2004 polls with Sonia leading the party from the front.