The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 41-50https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others-do-not-use/the-most-powerful-indians-in-2012-no-4150/

The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 41-50

Into her third successive term,she has become the showpiece of the Congress party's success in the state.

41. UK Sinha,59

Chairman,Sebi

Rank ’11: 94

WHY

Sinha knows the capital markets very well,given his previous stints as chairman of UTI Asset Management Company and Joint Secretary,capital markets,in the Finance Ministry. He is taken seriously in North Block.

POWER PUNCH

The Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition against his appointment,and the government backed him when allegations were hurled at him by a former Sebi member. He has kept a low profile and let his work speak over the last 12 months.

WHAT NEXT

Sinha has brought more objectivity to decision-making at Sebi. He is looking at holistic reforms in the financial sector such as uniform know-your-customer norms.

BY THE WAY

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After studying law,he started his career at SBI as a probationary officer.


42. Deepak Parekh,67

Chairman,HDFC

Rank ’11: 41

WHY

He gave up board membership in blue-chips such as Hindustan Unilever,Castrol and Lafarge,but agreed to steer several government councils,including the Sam Pitroda Committee on Railway Modernisation. Even then,he does not mince words in calling the government’s attention towards the collapse of governance.

POWER PUNCH

His open letter to the Prime Minister,signed by several other eminent persons,served as a wake-up call to the government when it was mired in inaction.

WHAT NEXT

He has been a leading voice of corporate India. At the right time,he may want to take up a larger role in government.

BY THE WAY

Every Sunday,he plays bridge with friends,including Murli Deora.


43. Fali S Nariman,83

Constitutional Jurist

Rank ’11: 48

WHY

At 83,he is the Indian Bar’s elder statesman and conscience keeper. He is the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae,guiding the course that a Special Bench led by the Chief Justice should take for better judicial facilities across the country.

POWER PUNCH

He won the case for French cement major Lafarge to resume mining in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The SC had stayed mining at the spot even after the government pleaded that the ban would affect diplomatic relations with Bangladesh. The Meghalaya operations are crucial for supplying of limestone to the cement plant in Bangladesh.

WHAT NEXT

As lead counsel for India in the International Court of Arbitration in the Kishanganga Hydel Project dispute with Pakistan,Nariman will defend the country against allegations of violating the Indus Waters Treaty.

BY THE WAY

He says his son,Rohinton,has a better memory and is also better versed in Zoroastrian sacred texts.


44. GM Rao,62

Chairman & MD,GMR Group

Rank ’11: 49

WHY

His airport businesses have become a success story. Hyderabad airport started posting profits a year ago,and Delhi is set to turn around,contributing 45 per cent to the group’s revenues.

POWER PUNCH

When the Prime Minister called a meeting of airlines CEOs,Rao was the only airport operator who was extended a special invite.

WHAT NEXT

GMR Group will be bidding for two prestigious Brazilian airports—Brasilia and Sao Paulo.

BY THE WAY

His entourage includes a yoga guru whenever he travels out of Bangalore,even overseas.


45. Sheila Dikshit,74

CM,Delhi

Rank ’11: 76

WHY

Into her third successive term,she has become the showpiece of the Congress party’s success in the state. Despite opposition from some party colleagues and the negative fallout of the Commonwealth Games scandal,she rode out the storm. Her supporters say this is a reflection of her growing stature,not just in Delhi politcs but in the national party too.

POWER PUNCH

She overcame fierce opposition from Congress colleagues in Delhi and convinced the Home Ministry and her party leadership on the need to split the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. When approval for the division was delayed,she took the issue to the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi.

WHAT NEXT

2012 will be her litmus test when Delhi votes for three new municipalities. Her opponents have warned that the MCD split could harm the Congress electorally.

BY THE WAY

She met her late husband,Vinod Dikshit,on the DU Special,while she was at Miranda House and he at St Stephen’s.


46. Naveen Patnaik, 65

Chief Minister,Orissa

Rank ’11: 53

WHY

Despite ruling Orissa for 12 years,nobody in the party or government has direct access to him. For ministers and bureaucrats alike,he is unpredictable. This year he will become the longest-serving chief minister in Orissa,surpassing Congress strongman J B Patnaik,who too was a three-time chief minister. Nobody takes him for granted,not even his political advisor and Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. He can boast of a women votebank due to his welfare schemes such as Mamata and Mission Shakti.

POWER PUNCH

He sacked his one-time close aide and former minister Debasis Nayak from the party last May,just days after he accused the BJD government of being involved in scams. The sacking of Damodar Rout,a powerful minister,triggered not a murmur of protest.

WHAT NEXT

The Opposition is gunning for him over mining and NREGS scandals. Naveen will be looking to silence them by winning the panchayat polls.

BY THE WAY

Naveen is going native. Recently,he tried to directly interact with the masses,speaking in halting Oriya. After the day’s work,he slips into a cotton tee and Khurda lungi,a local handloom variety.


47. Amarinder Singh,69

President,Punjab Congress

New on the list

WHY

He is the most charismatic face of the faction-ridden Punjab Congress. In a party famed for cutting down its regional satraps,and/or setting them up against each other,Amarinder Singh is ahead of his rivals. More crucially,he is also seen to be so.

POWER PUNCH

Rahul Gandhi declared Amarinder Singh the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate,an unprecedented step in a party that likes to keep up the suspense until after the elections are won and the high command nominates the leader.

WHAT NEXT

If the Congress wins the election,Amarinder Singh starts with the enormous advantage of not being forced to assert his supremacy within the party. Even if the Congress loses,his pre-eminent position in the Punjab Congress would have won the imprimatur of the high command.

BY THE WAY

Himself a military historian,he has a vast collection of books on military history.


48. Ganapathy,59

General Secretary,CPI (Maoist)

Rank ’11: 40

WHY

The Maoists,in spite of recent setbacks including the death of top leader Kishenji last November,still control vast swathes in Chhattisgarh,Orissa and Jharkhand. Under Ganapathy’s leadership,the Maoists regained much of the ground they lost in Jharkhand during President’s rule in 2010,making it the worst-hit among the nine Naxalism-affected states. Ganapathy represents what the Prime Minister has called India’s “greatest internal security challenge”.

POWER PUNCH

Undaunted by heightened security operations,the Maoists continue to cause mayhem. On January 21,13 policemen were killed in two landmine blasts in Jharkhand. Though operations by the CRPF and CoBRA have been going on since late 2010,the Maoists,inspired by Ganapathy’s fierce resolve,still have the upper hand.

WHAT NEXT

Ganapathy hopes to cock a snook at the Centre by organising the party congress in 2012 somewhere in Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand. Under him,the politburo and central committee,which have shrunk after several members were killed or arrested,will be reconstituted.

BY THE WAY

He was initiated at 25 when led by PWG founder Kondapalli Seetharamaiah he and his associates killed an MLA’s two sons and three relatives in Tapalapur village in his native Adilabad district.


49. Aruna Roy,65

Member,National Advisory Council

New on the list

WHY

As one of the most vocal and articulate members of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council,she has positively influenced the rolling out and implementation of welfare initiatives of the Congress-led UPA government. She has put her weight behind a generous national food security legislation despite severe reservations voiced by a section of government,and also helped shape the Land Acquisition,Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill.

POWER PUNCH

While Team Anna rode on a popular anti-graft sentiment and sought to dictate terms to Parliament,she avoided the lure of getting carried away by popular sentiment and presented an alternative approach to combat corruption. In fact,heeding her advice,the government introduced a grievance redressal legislation in Parliament.

WHAT NEXT

The NAC is working on the Communal and Targeted Violence Bill along with other social welfare issues. Her extensive work is likely to shape the implementation of various initiatives.

BY THE WAY

She is a techno-geek,and keeps abreast of gadgets.


50. Sharad Pawar,71

Agriculture Minister

Rank ’11: 50

WHY

As a political heavyweight,he has been one of the most trusted partners of the ruling UPA coalition,lending support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in contrast to the obstructionist tendency of other coalition partners. Even as supply-side bottlenecks have added to food inflation,as Agriculture Minister,he has a record foodgrain production to his credit which has provided space for the government to roll out its proposed food security law.

POWER PUNCH

He is advising the government on long-term concerns arising out of the food security law promised by the Congress in its election manifesto. He also extended his unequivocal support to FDI in retail trade and also flagged the need for the government to address the gloom within the corporate sector. Had the last laugh on Anna Hazare when his party won the local body elections in Anna’s village.

WHAT NEXT

He has the potential to arrest centrifugal tendencies within the ruling combine as well as the power to let it unravel. With the Opposition breathing down the government’s neck and Trinamool Congress continuing its disruptive stand,his moves will hold significance in the wake of any possible realignment in politics.

BY THE WAY

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He attributes his success to three women—mother,wife and daughter. He runs several educational institutions in his hometown,almost all named after his mother or wife.