The most powerful Indians in 2013: No. 11-20

Indian Express: The most powerful Indians in 2013

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2013 7:56:21 pm

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 41

Nehru-Gandhi scion

Rank ’12: 23

Why

Even though she has not entered active politics,her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul rely on her feedback on crucial matters.

Power Punch

Rahul’s maiden speech as Congress vice-president in Jaipur had been vetted by her. She had flown to Jaipur to help Rahul prepare for the big event.

What Next

With Sonia Gandhi gradually withdrawing from day-to-day party affairs,many Congress leaders believe that Priyanka will enter politics.

By The Way

She often drives her mother Sonia Gandhi to Khan Market for shopping.

12

Mukesh Ambani, 55

Chairman,Reliance Industries

Rank ’12: 12

WHY

In 2012,he held on to his position as the world’s richest Indian for the fifth year in a row,despite his net worth slipping by $1.6 billion to $21 billion. High cash generation from core businesses is his key strength,which helps his flagship company,RIL,to diversify in several directions.

POWER PUNCH

The $390 million Network 18-Eenadu merger deal was the largest Indian media deal,that changed the complexion of the sector. The first clear signs that the gas-flow from the KG-D6 wells is on a revival path has sharply changed the assessment by fund houses of India’s largest company by market cap.

WHAT NEXT

His foray into telecom with a pact with younger brother,Anil,can be a gamechanger.

BY THE WAY

For the last four years,his annual salary remains capped at Rs 15 crore though shareholders have found him eligible for Rs 38.82 crore.

13

Kamal Nath, 66

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

New on the list

Why

The dealmaker-in-chief has been picked for handling the crucial task of mobilising the requisite numbers in Parliament,whenever needed,and keep the Manmohan Singh government afloat. It is a big challenge at a time when the government has become more dependent than ever on two most unreliable parties,SP and BSP.

Power Punch

He delivered a victory for the UPA regime in both Houses over the introduction of FDI in retail even while the Trinamool Congress had joined the opposition ranks to stall the move. He led the Indian delegation at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in January.

What Next

He has to steer the party through all floor tests during the remaining term of the Lok Sabha.

By The Way

He beats a tattoo on the table while talking.

14

Ahmed Patel,63

Political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Rank ‘12: 26

Why

His clout in the Congress has remained intact even after Rahul Gandhi assumed the No. 2 position. As the Congress president’s political secretary,he continues to play a crucial role.

Power Punch

He played a key role in pacifying Virbhadra Singh who was threatening to walk out of the Congress ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. He was instrumental in isolating Mamata Banerjee by securing Mulayam Singh Yadav’s support for Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature in the presidential election.

What Next

With Sonia Gandhi looking set to gradually withdraw from day-to-day party affairs,it is to be seen how the role of her political secretary gets redefined.

By The Way

He sleeps late at night after listening to Mukesh songs and offering prayers.

15

Digvijaya Singh, 65

Congress general secretary

Rank ’12: 25

Why

Even after the Congress’s debacle in the UP elections last year,his clout in the party has not diminished. He remains a powerful voice and is also a member of the party’s Election Coordination Committee.

Power Punch

His was the lone voice in the party to publicly demand Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging,and he stood vindicated.

What Next

With Rahul Gandhi virtually taking over the reins of the Congress,he will play a crucial role in party affairs.

Oops moment

“I personally feel there should not be two power centres.” Though he stood by his statement,the party called the present arrangement an “ideal model”.

By The Way

His favourite snack is mangora,a fried savoury made of moong dal.

16

Ratan Tata, 76

Emeritus Chairman,Tata Group

Rank ’12: 15

WHY

After retiring as chairman of Tata Sons in December 2012,he became the chairman of the Tata trusts,which are engaged in philanthropy. He was given a lifetime achievement award for innovation in philanthropy by the Rockefeller Foundation last year.

POWER PUNCH

In an interview to a foreign newspaper,he criticised the government for inaction. Known for his candid views,he said various arms of the government were failing to work as a cohesive unit.

WHAT NEXT

He will play an active role in philanthropic initiatives of the Tata trusts. Got E Sreedharan on the board of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. His focus will be water and rural infrastructure.

BY THE WAY

He spent his last working day as chairman of Tata Sons with shop-floor colleagues of Tata Motors in Pune.

17

Altamas Kabir, 64

Chief Justice of India

New on the list

Why

Justice Kabir is seized of a large number of public interest litigations. Unlike his predecessor,Justice Kabir sits in a three-judge Bench,enabling his court to also consider,in special circumstances,cases pending before other two-judge Benches of the apex court.

Power Punch

He restrained the Italian ambassador from leaving India after Italy said it would not send back its two marines to stand trial in a homicide case even though the ambassador had promised their return when they were granted bail. He denied diplomatic immunity to the ambassador,and Italy had to send the marines back.

What Next

He will strive for time-limits for disposal of cases and to retain the collegium system for appointment of judges.

By The Way

He often visits children’s homes when travelling to states for official functions.

18

Rajnath Singh, 61

President of the Bharatiya Janata Party

New on the list

Why

He will preside over the main opposition party’s affairs in the next general elections. While he will influence the BJP’s political decisions in Parliament,he will also be in control of candidate selection for the elections.

Power Punch

Though he was written off after he presided over the BJP’s defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections,he made a comeback as party president by emerging as the consensus candidate of the RSS and various party factions.

What Next

Preparing the party for a clutch of crucial Assembly elections in Karnataka,Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh,Chhattisgarh and Delhi,and the next general elections.

By The Way

One of the few Members of Parliament to always wear dhoti,he stopped wearing pants and pyjamas in 1997.

19

J Jayalalithaa, 63

Chief Minister,Tamil Nadu

Rank ’12: 21

Why

Apart from being a powerful opposition chief minister,she is expected to play an important role in deciding the prime minister after the next general elections. Her strident stand on Sri Lanka proves she is capable of exerting pressure on the Centre.

Power Punch

It was her tough stand against Koodankulam protesters that ended the deadlock over the project. She managed to take credit when the state won rights over the Cauvery river waters.

What Next

After a few ‘unpopular’ decisions like hiking power tariff,bus fares and milk price,she is likely to to be benevolent to the public,keeping in view the coming general elections.

By the Way

Last year,she wrote 52 letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,raising various issues concerning her state.

20

Sharad Pawar, 72

NCP President & Agriculture Minister

Rank ’12: 50

Why

The veteran Maratha politician wields clout across political divides and controls the UPA government’s fate in Maharashtra. He remains a champion of economic reforms within the ruling UPA,which has started a number of subsidy-guzzling programmes.

Power Punch

He plunged the ruling UPA into a political crisis last year when he skipped Cabinet meetings in the wake of the Congress’s attempt to sideline him in the affairs of Maharashtra. He forced the Congress to revive the coordination committee in the UPA.

What Next

With his nephew Ajit Pawar flexing his muscles in the NCP,his priority is to set his own house in order so that his party gets enough seats to play kingmaker in case of a fractured mandate after the next Lok Sabha elections.

By The Way

When he returns from tours,he disposes of files before moving to the inner chambers of his residence.

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