New Delhi: Commencing her 16th year as the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said being at the helm was "not an easy task" and gave credit to the party's rank and file in helping her accomplish the job. "It was not not an easy task. But it was made possible due to your support and the love and affection of the ordinary workers which made the task easier and the credit goes to them", the 66-year-old told her party leaders.
Gandhi is currently in the fourth term of the presidentship which expires in 2015. Changes have been made in the party constitution that now mandates organisational polls after five years instead of three years earlier. She has created history by becoming the longest-serving chief of the 127-year-old organisation. AICC leaders said that some PCC chiefs had sought permission for celebrating the occasion in a big way, but Gandhi advised them against it in view of drought situation in some parts of the country.
The highpoint of her political career was in May 2004 when she successfully led the Congress regain power at the Centre, albeit on a coalition platform. However, in a dramatic turn of events she declined prime ministership and nominated economist-turned-politician Manmohan Singh to the top political post. She took over the reins of the organisation in March 1998 in the wake of the party's dismal showing in the Lok Sabha polls earlier. The defeat led to the exit of the late Sitaram Kesri from the post of Congress president.