to become Prime Minister, the party settled on the choice of P. Narasimha Rao who became leader and subsequently Prime Minister.Over the next few years, however, the Congress fortunes continued to dwindle and it lost the 1996 elections. Chidambaram and Jayanthi Natarajan were in open revolt against incumbent President Sitaram Kesri and many of whom quit the party, splitting the Congress into many factions.She countered the BJP asking "Who is India Shining for? In the election, she was re-elected by a 200,000-vote margin over nearest rival, in the Rae Bareli.Following the unexpected defeat of the NDA, she was widely expected to be the next Prime Minister of India.As the prime minister's wife she acted as his official hostess and also accompanied him on a number of state visits.In 1984, she actively campaigned against her husband's sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi who was running against Rajiv in Amethi.
Her supporters compared it to the old Indian tradition of renunciation, On 23 March 2006, Gandhi announced her resignation from the Lok Sabha and also as chairperson of the National Advisory Council under the office-of-profit controversy and the speculation that the government was planning to bring an ordinance to exempt the post of chairperson of National Advisory Council from the purview of office of profit.
As Leader of Opposition, she called a no-confidence motion against the NDA government led by Vajpayee in 2003.
In the 2004 general elections, Gandhi launched a nationwide campaign, criss-crossing the country on the Aam Aadmi (ordinary man) slogan in contrast to the 'India Shining' slogan of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance.
At the end of Rajiv Gandhi's five years in office, the Bofors scandal broke out.
Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian business man believed to be involved, was said to be a friend of Sonia Gandhi, having access to the Prime Minister's official residence.