The most powerful Indians in 2013: No. 31-40

Indian Express: The most powerful Indians in 2013

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2013 7:06:04 pm

31

Naveen Patnaik, 66

Chief Minister,Orissa

Rank ’12: 46

Why

By expelling Pyari Mohan Mohapatra,his mentor and a Rajya Sabha MP,after his alleged attempt at a coup,Naveen has shown that he is the only name that matters in the 16-year-old regional party. With his

Rs 1 per kg rice scheme and several other populist measures,he might win Assembly polls for the fourth consecutive time,the first state CM to do so.

Power Punch

The ruthless action against rebels who took part in the May 2012 attempted coup has ended any debate on Naveen’s political acumen and sense of timing.

What Next

With no advisors in the background,he is working hard for a win in the polls. He can broker a good deal for Orissa if the NDA comes to power at the Centre.

BY THE WAY

His cook,Badal,is known for his excellent Italian,continental and French dishes.

32

Mohan Bhagwat, 62

Chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Rank ’12: 4

Why

He wields tremendous influence over the BJP and is considered to be the final arbiter of contentious issues of leadership in the party. His descent on the list coincides with Narendra Modi’s rise.

Power Punch

While his handpicked Nitin Gadkari had to exit as the BJP president after allegations of wrongdoings,he got his second best choice in Rajnath Singh. Even a leader as powerful as Narendra Modi had to pay him a visit at Nagpur before the Gujarat Assembly elections last year.

What Next

Given the tussle over the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections,his endorsement will be crucial.

Oops moment

“You go to villages and forests of the country,and there will be no such incidents of gang rape or sex crimes,” he said after the Delhi gang rape.

By The Way

He graduated in veterinary sciences.

33

Salman Khurshid, 60

Minister of External Affairs

Rank ’12: 53

Why

Despite the controversy involving his family-run Trust,he managed to get the high-profile portfolio.

Power Punch

Though Arvind Kejriwal made allegations against him,Sonia Gandhi put her weight behind him.

What Next

He will have to juggle demands of his constituency,his official role in Delhi and overseas travel.

Oops moment

“Let him come to Farrukhabad,but how will he go back?” he said when Kejriwal decided to protest in his constituency.

BY THE WAY

If he gets a hate message,he gives a befitting response.

34

L K Advani, 85

BJP patriarch

Rank ’12: 39

Why

He remains the pivot of the BJP in Parliament where the government requires cooperation. Within the BJP,he holds the power to influence decisions till the last minute.

Power Punch

He vetoed the RSS’s first choice Gadkari to preside over the party through the next general elections.

What Next

Though he has not opted out of the race for the BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate,he also holds the veto to stall any contender. His endorsement is crucial for any BJP hopeful.

Oops moment

Advani had to withdraw his statement calling the UPA government “illegitimate”.

By The Way

A frugal eater,he does not eat more than three rotis a day.

35

Sheila Dikshit, 75

Chief Minister,Delhi

Rank ’12: 45

Why

She looks set to be India’s first woman to bid for leading a state government fourth time in a row. She remains the face of Congress in Delhi due to her knack of fending off detractors. She has managed to stick to the agenda of development and governance,which appeals to the aspirational Delhi voter.

Power Punch

In a year when law-and-order concerns in Delhi peaked following the December bus gang rape,she successfully distanced herself from her party’s government at the Centre. By publicly admitting that Delhi women feel insecure,she struck a chord with citizens.

What Next

The burden of defeat in last year’s municipal polls,when the BJP won all the three municipalities of the state,will weigh heavily on her as she launches her Assembly poll campaign this year. Another win could elevate her to a more important role at the Centre.

By The Way

A movie buff,Dikshit’s favourite is Shahid Kapoor.

36

Jagan Mohan Reddy, 40

President,YSR Congress Party

New on the list

Why

Though he has been in jail in a disproportionate assets case since May last year,his popularity in Andhra Pradesh keeps rising. Engineering many defections and splits,he has left the Congress and Telugu Desam Party in tatters. He draws on the popularity of his late father and chief minister Y S R Reddy.

Power Punch

He has humbled the once mighty Congress in the state by defying and breaking away from it,forming his own YSR Congress Party,and winning 15 of the 18 Assembly seats in by-elections held in June last year.

What Next

If he comes out of jail,he is likely to be the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.

By The Way

He starts his day with a typical Rayalaseema dish,ragi sankat (a thick paste of millets),downed with a glass of butter milk.

37

Nandan Nilekani, 57

Chairman,Unique Identification Authority of India

Rank ’12: 34

WHY

The Aadhaar number promises to address the limitations in financial inclusion. The Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme rolls out on Aadhaar.

POWER PUNCH

He pressed on despite criticism from various quarters,including members of Sonia Gandhi-led NAC. Also managed to enrol a good number of people for Direct Benefit Transfer.

WHAT NEXT

As many departments begin closing down losing their utility in post-Aadhaar world,expect much larger controversies for him.

BY THE WAY

On his first day as the UIDAI chief,he

yanked off the towel covering the back of his office chair—a gesture interpreted as rejecting the ‘sarkari’ mentality.

38

Anand Mahindra, 57

Vice chairman & MD,Mahindra & Mahindra

Rank ’12: 55

WHY

He has created a global footprint through ambitious deals. Mahindra’s latest SUV model,XUV500,has been a roaring success. He now oversees a $14.5 billion corporation,employing more than 1,44,000 people across the world.

POWER PUNCH

An articulate Mahindra is one of the global envoys of corporate India. His firm Mahindra Satyam’s expansion into the global IT sector by acquiring a 51 per cent controlling stake in Brazilian SAP consulting firm Complex IT has inspired fresh confidence in the sector.

WHAT NEXT

He plans to diversify into aerospace.

BY THE WAY

He says people bursting crackers on morning after Diwali give him “homicidal inclinations”.

39

Salman Khan,47

Actor

Rank ‘12: 65

WHY

B town’s reigning superstar continues to enjoy a dream run at the box office with each of his last five films making more than a billion rupees in revenue. For three years in a row,a Salman starrer has ended up as the biggest hit (Dabangg,Bodyguard,Ek Tha Tiger). He also continues to dominate the small screen with his unique style of hosting Colors show Bigg Boss.

Power Punch

He inked a Rs 500 crore deal with Star India for the TV broadcast rights of his forthcoming films for five years.

What Next

Sohail Khan’s Mental,Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick,Boney Kapoor’s sequel to No Entry,and Sooraj Barjatya’s next movie.

By The Way

He usually rides to film shoots on his Mercedes Benz cycle as part of his fitness routine.

40

M K Stalin, 60

General treasurer,DMK

New on the list

Why

He is on the verge of becoming the head of his party. With that,he will come to hold immense power in Delhi too.

Power Punch

Having ensured that his father M Karunanidhi declared him his political successor,he got him to withdraw from the UPA government over the Lankan Tamils issue.

What Next

He needs to consolidate his power over the party,which means confrontation in some of the southern districts,where his miffed elder brother,M K Alagiri,holds control.

By The Way

Though he follows no religious rituals,he

was worried that his wife might be termed unlucky as he was held under MISA during the Emergency just five months after their wedding.

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