Indian Express Power List 2016 – Top 50

Indian Express Power List 2016 – Top 50

In contrast to last year, the Opposition has gained some space – and reclaimed some power.

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Narendra Modi remains an unchallenged Number 1, his third in a row, but go down the list and there are movements up and down. In contrast to last year, the Opposition has gained some space – and reclaimed some power. The BJP's shock defeat in Delhi and Bihar, the continuing economic slowdown, the debate over intolerance, the murder in Dadri and, more recently, the campus unrests, have all been grist to the Opposition’s mill.

See Indian Express Power List 2016: 51-100

Read 2016 list of the most powerful Indians

Narendra Modi

1- Narendra Damodardas Modi: Prime Minister of India Why Because despite the storm around him — the intolerance debate, the defeat in Bihar, the Rohith Vemula suicide, the JNU crisis — he remains the unchallenged No. 1. Under Modi, the PMO has become the epicentre of all important, and some not-so-important, decisions, with the ministries often being bypassed. A floundering economy and the continuing debate over the government’s Hindutva agenda have put a question mark over his leadership style, with the man, who is often criticised for speaking too much, maintaining a stoic silence over key issues. But so far, his opponents have been unable to find an answer to Modi’s popularity. Power Punch The surprising decision to fly in to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for lunch on his way back from Afghanistan. What Next The coming Budget and the elections will be a test of his politics and his economics. By the way Modi likes his bhakhri and khichdi even at 7, RCR.

Mohan Bhagwat

2- Mohan Bhagwat: RSS sarsanghchalak Why Under him, the RSS has grown enormously, both within and outside the country. While Narendra Modi is seen to have complete Sangh backing, Bhagwat has ensured that the RSS maintains its distinct and larger identity as a flagbearer of Hindu pride. He is never seen following the PM or his men, and, crucially, did not even attend Modi’s swearing-in. Power Punch Despite his remarks on reservation that supposedly cost the BJP the Bihar elections, he remained unruffled. The Sangh too never sounded apologetic, only seeking to “explain” the stance of its sarsanghchalak. What Next 2016 will see if his grip on the Sangh, in states going to polls this year, gets translated into electoral results for the BJP. By the way He is a fan of Reader’s Digest.

Amit Shah

3- Amit Shah: BJP president Why Because he is second to none in the party organisation, publicly admitting that he reports to nobody else but “Narendrabhai”. Shah was re-elected BJP president for a full term without any opposition, despite the electoral routs suffered by the party in Delhi and Bihar and despite complaints from partymen about him being inaccessible. Power Punch The RSS too has chosen to stand by him despite objections from party veterans such as L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. The BJP is the “largest party in the world” now, after a much-publicised membership drive launched by Shah. What Next With his formula flopping in Delhi and Bihar, Shah has much to prove in the Assembly polls this year in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Can he expand the social base of the BJP while ensuring that Hindutva is not diluted is the question. By the way Shah keeps a daily diary.

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4- Arun Jaitley: Finance, I&B Minister Why Despite the controversy around the Delhi & District Cricket Administration, the crisis in the government banking sector and the slow growth on the economic front, Arun Jaitley’s clout remains undiminished. He is still the key trouble-shooter and brain trust in the Modi government. Power Punch With exports on the decline and private investment remaining weak, he has to live up to the promise of higher growth and achche din. What Next All eyes are on the forthcoming Budget, with both investors and the common man hoping to finally see some positives. After the setback on planned changes in the land acquisition law and the GST Bill, he has to find a way to get the Opposition on his side in the coming Budget session. By the Way Except for some antique pieces, he recently handed over his long-time collection of watches to his son and daughter.

sonia gandhi

5- Sonia Gandhi: Congress president Why The longest serving president of the Congress, now at the helm for 18 years, Sonia remains the last word in the grand old party and continues to command the respect of her rivals. Despite the debacle of being reduced to 44 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, she has led the party in giving a fight to Prime Minister Narendra Modi inside the House, and now outside. Power Punch “I am not scared, I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law.” With this one sentence, she dramatically altered the Congress’s fightback in The National Herald case from a mere legal challenge to a spirited political offensive. What Next Transfer of power to son Rahul Gandhi is on the cards, but she is not likely to remain a mere figurehead later. The immediate challenge, however, is to return to power in Assam and Kerala. By the Way She is very fond of idlis, especially those from a south Indian restaurant in Defence Colony.

pranab mukherjee

6 - Pranab Mukherjee: President of India Why He occupies the most famous address in the country, but that’s not the only reason he makes it to the list. The President has time and again proved that he is anything but a rubber stamp, taking on the government on a range of issues, from ordinances to removal of vice-chancellors of central universities. Power Punch Amid the intolerance debate, Mukherjee made repeated references to the need for tolerance and the importance of pluralism in Indian civilisation. Addressing a rally before the Bihar polls, Modi heeded his words and, amidst the row over the Dadri lynching, said, “President’s message is our guiding principle.” What Next This is Mukherjee’s last year in office, unless he manages a second term. He could take up teaching assignments like his predecessor A P J Abdul Kalam did. By the Way Mukherjee swears by football and has a sweet tooth. Of late, he has cut down on non-veg food.

rajnath singh

7- Rajnath Singh: Home Minister Why As Union Home Minister, he is Number 2 in the government, and enjoys the complete backing of the RSS. The RSS leadership is believed to have impressed upon the government that Singh should be kept in the loop on all major decisions. Parties across the political spectrum are comfortable dealing with him on contentious issues. He is often seen engaging with Muslim groups as well. Power Punch While the government’s handling of the Pathankot terror attack came in for flak, Singh remained largely unscathed. What Next With the UP Assembly elections two years away, Singh is under pressure to lift his party’s fortunes in the state. His stewardship of the country’s security set-up, amid talk of the National Security Advisor emerging as an alternative power centre, will also be tested. By the Way An M.Sc in physics, he is fond of quoting Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, as it is “drawn from the Vedas”.

arvind kejriwal

8- Arvind Kejriwal: Delhi Chief Minister Why He never misses an opportunity to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government. To Arvind Kejriwal’s advantage, as chief minister of Delhi, he enjoys almost as much media space and TV airtime as the PM. Power Punch When the CBI conducted raids on his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, Kejriwal immediately took the fight to the Central government and laid charges on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s doorstep vis-a-vis the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA). He is also the first CM to activate government intervention to combat air pollution with the odd-even scheme, whose success silenced many critics. What Next Having won four Lok Sabha seats from the state in 2014, Kejriwal will seek to make big gains in the coming Punjab Assembly elections. By the Way Kejriwal rarely misses a new movie released in theatres. He also gives his staff a detailed review of the movie.

rahul gandhi

9- Rahul Gandhi: Congress vice-president Why While still not Congress president, Rahul is now virtually driving the party policy, including its hardline stance against the BJP government and its constant attacks on the RSS. Since a mystery 60-odd-day break a year ago, the 45-year-old has remained very much in the public eye — going to Hyderabad Central University after Rohith Vemula’s suicide and to JNU to express his solidarity with the striking students, and taking the government on in Parliament. When Rahul went on a vacation on New Year, the party made it a point to announce it in advance, on Twitter. Power Punch Having once propagated the go-solo line, he played a role in bringing Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad together in Bihar for the Assembly polls and hitching the Congress onto the Mahagathbandhan bandwagon. For the first time since 2014, the Congress found itself on the winning side, getting 27 seats. What Next Rahul says he is ready to take over as Congress president; the Congress maintains it is up to Rahul to decide. His coronation is said to be a matter of time, or rather a matter of timing. By the Way Rahul is a black belt in aikido, a modern Japanese martial art form.

sushma swaraj

10 - Sushma Swaraj: Minister for External Affairs Why With PM Narendra Modi taking the lead in foreign affairs, including holding grand rallies abroad for the diaspora, Sushma Swaraj has played the role of a perfect anchor in the government. She has been handling the nuts and bolts of the ministry. She actively helps out Indians in distress overseas, who often approach her directly on Twitter, something which has earned her immense goodwill. Power Punch After the Rajya Sabha passed the Bangladesh land boundary Bill, Swaraj, who had piloted the legislation, acknowledged the UPA government’s role in the initiative, and walked across the aisle to greet former prime minister Manmohan Singh. What Next The Minister for External Affairs will be laying the groundwork for visits planned by Modi to key countries this year, including Israel, and may also be travelling more than last year. By the Way Swaraj chooses colour of her saris depending on day of the week. When she met Pakistan leaders in Islamabad last December, she wore green —a choice not driven by the country’s colours but because it was a Wednesday.

TS thakur

11- TS Thakur: Chief Justice of India Why With a reputation for not mincing words and for not taking long to pass orders once he is convinced, Thakur has a tough job on his hands as he begins to fill the large number of vacancies in the higher judiciary, which have risen sharply in the wake of a battle of nerves between the political class and the judiciary over the manner of appointment of judges. Power Punch When he issued a string of directives to curb rising pollution and ensured strict compliance by all the authorities through regular monitoring. What Next Justice Thakur is likely to lead the bench that will decide whether the law criminalising homosexuality should go. He is also monitoring the implementation of reforms in BCCI as per recommendations of a high-powered committee, headed by one of his predecessors, Justice R L Lodha. By the Way He does a lot of his non-judicial writing in Urdu.

nitish kumar

12- Nitish Kumar: Bihar Chief Minister Why In dealing a decisive blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Bihar elections, Nitish Kumar has emerged as the nucleus of anti-Modi politics and is being seen as the obvious leader should a third front take shape for the 2019 general elections. Power Punch The JD(U) leader refused to give in to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s demands for more seats during the Bihar polls, to the extent of risking the grand alliance dreams. Eventually, the SP drew a blank. Nitish also overrode apprehensions to agree to an equal division of seats in the Bihar elections with the RJD. The RJD didn’t disappoint. What Next The third-time CM (if one discounts his seven-day stint in 2000) has little left to prove in Bihar, and his only destination can be Delhi. By the Way Nitish worked as an electrical engineer for a day at Bihar State Electricity Board, Ranchi, in 1973. The next day, he returned to Patna and joined student politics.

smriti irani

13- Smriti Irani: HRD Minister Why Despite never straying too far from controversy, Irani is understood to have the confidence of both PM Narendra Modi and the RSS. Modi has often publicly acknowledged initiatives undertaken by her ministry in his Mann ki Baat radio show. She continues to take on Rahul Gandhi on his home turf and has visited Amethi six times since the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Power Punch Forced the sacking of Visva Bharati University vice-chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta, despite President Pranab Mukherjee informally telling the ministry that he should be allowed to retire. It was the first ever sacking of the head of a central university. What Next Her frequent trips to Uttar Pradesh, especially Amethi, have got many speculating about her political ambitions — will Irani be the BJP CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh? By the Way She almost never steps out of home without wearing something red.

Mehbooba Mufti

14- Mehbooba Mufti: Peoples Democratic Party chairperson Why She became a leader by chance and later learned the ropes of politics from her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. She encouraged her father to form his own political party and then played a pivotal role in shaping the PDP, which emerged as the single largest party in Jammu and Kashmir in the 2014 elections. Power Punch After the death of her father, she didn’t rush to take oath as the first woman chief minister of the state despite the pulls and pressures from alliance partner BJP and other forces. She is playing hardball and trying to bargain with top BJP leadership and Union ministries for a deal which will benefit her party in the long run. Despite forming an alliance with the BJP, she openly advocates talks with separatists and Pakistan. What Next What will she extract in return for keeping the alliance with the BJP going? By the Way She is fond of wearing trendy abayas, especially in green, the colour of the PDP flag.

mamata banerjee

15- Mamata Banerjee: West Bengal Chief Minister Why Her strength lies in the numbers she commands — 34 Lok Sabha MPs and 12 in RS — giving her an unmatched power of political manoeuvering. Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps her in good humour; she is with Sonia Gandhi on her birthday; and is with Arvind Kejriwal of AAP to protest the CBI raids in his office. Despite her belligerence on the Modi government, her finance minister Amit Mitra was elected chairman of the Empowered Committee on GST. In September 2015, she declassified all the Netaji files of the West Bengal government, forcing the Modi government to follow suit in January this year. Power Punch In December 2015, Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai was cancelled after the Shiv Sena objected to his presence in the city. Mamata sent out a strong message by hosting Ali in Kolkata and personally overseeing the concert. What Next As West Bengal goes to the polls in April-May, she will seek a second term in office. Responding to the recent CPM-Congress alliance talks, she said, “I care a fig.” By the way She chants Sanskrit shlokas while working out on the treadmill every day.

mukesh ambani

16- Mukesh Ambani: RIL Chairman Why Mukesh Ambani has now remained “India’s richest man” on the Forbes list for close to a decade. Reliance runs the largest private sector company in the oil and gas sector with a market capitalisation of close to Rs 3,05,000 crore. Ambani has also made his mark in the retail sector and is all set to barge into the telecom sector now. Power Punch Despite low crude oil prices, RIL posted a better-than-expected 38.7 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 7,290 crore, aided by strong refining margins which surged to a seven-year high. What Next Ambani’s entry into the telecom segment is being closely watched. Reliance Jio, RIL’s telecom arm, has optimised its network and is currently testing service offerings across India for providing 4G service. By the Way Ambani cleared the entrance to IIT Bombay, but left it to get a chemical engineering degree from Bombay University (now University of Mumbai).

raghuran rajan

17- Raguram Rajan: RBI Governor Why For saying it as bluntly as it gets. The RBI chief warned the government against straying from fiscal consolidation and raising questions about the GDP numbers. “There are problems with the way we count GDP, which is why we need to be careful sometimes just talking about growth,” Rajan said last month. Power Punch In December 2015, after the RBI cut the repo rate by half a per cent, he said, “Everybody and his cousin have a theory on how to run the economy... The name is Raghuram Rajan, I do what I do.” Recently, he asked all public sector banks, which are reeling under huge NPAs to clean up their balance sheets. What Next Transmit rate cuts to customers and to keep inflation under control. By the Way Rajan once told a gathering that when MIT refused him admission to its PhD programme, he wrote to them, saying. “I am a poor Indian... there is no way I can pay for the PhD.” Rajan says MIT then gave him a scholarship.

ajit doval

18- Ajit Doval: National Security Advisor Why As the National Security Advisor, Doval has the PM’s ear on all matters of national security and foreign policy. He has been a key factor in shaping the government’s response to Pakistan and in forging regional ties. The nationwide NIA crackdown on Islamic State sympathisers is also his idea. Power Punch The response to the Pathankot crisis was Doval’s show all the way. He took all key decisions, bypassing Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Earlier, when the Ufa (Russia) joint statement of July last year failed to take the two countries forward, Doval secretly met his Pakistan counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua in Bangkok in December, helping revive the stalled Indo-Pak talks. What Next Can his approach lend some consistency to Indo-Pak ties? Will the new approach to IS sympathisers impact internal security in the long run? By the Way He says there are two kinds of people: those who are ISI agents and those who aren’t.

j jayalalitha

19- J Jayalalithaa: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Why Because she is AIADMK and the AIADMK is her. Despite a string of controversies and reverses, including the sedition charges on a folk singer and her handling of the floods, she remains unchallenged, largely because the opposition DMK hasn't got its act together. Her party is the third largest in the Lok Sabha. Power Punch When the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the disproportionate assets case in 2015, thus paving the way for her to return as Chief Minister and win the by-election with a record majority. What Next With the DMK entering into a poll pact with the Congress, she is watching the moves of other parties. She will hope that the welfare schemes she launched under the brand ‘Amma’ — from canteens to salt packets to cement to medical shops — will ensure her return to power. by the way During her acting days, she was known as ‘Ammu’ among friends and associates, including MGR.

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20- Nitin Gadkari: Union Transport Minister Why He has earned the reputation of a minister who performs. His stature has risen since infrastructure is a key part of the Modi government’s plans. Sources say Gadkari is one of the few ministers to speak at Cabinet meetings, and that the PM often asks government secretaries to discuss new ideas with him. The RSS also has a soft corner for the former BJP president. Power Punch He needed just two meetings to get an online clearance for construction of railway overbridges from the Railway Ministry and Prime Minister. What Next Under him, the Road Ministry plans to build 30 km of road a day, as against the current pace of about 18 km a day. He is also pushing for a project award target of 10,000 km this fiscal, besides a budgetary allocation of Rs 65,000 crore for next fiscal. By the Way In his free time, he listens to music on his iPod, which has 6,500 songs on it. His favourite beverage is tea from roadside shops.

cyrus mistry

21- Cyrus P Mistry: Tata Group Chairman Why He has effortlessly stepped into predecessor Ratan Tata’s shoes, helming the over $100 billion Tata Group . Mistry backed the development of new products at Tata Motors and the company showed a strong presence at Auto Expo 2016, showcasing four new cars. Tata Motors has also said that it will come out with two new passenger cars every year till 2020. Mistry is also encouraging Tata group companies to explore new international markets. Power Punch At the annual group leadership conference of Tata Group in July 2015, Mistry laid down his vision for the group and said that he wants it to be among the top 25 companies in the world by market capitalisation. What Next Even though the group may have progressed on various fronts, the consolidated debt at the group level remains high and, in fact, has increased further over the last three years. Mistry will have to work on reducing the same. By the Way Mistry drives to work in a Safari Storme.

vasundhara raje

22- Vasundhara Raje: Rajasthan Chief Minister Why Despite 2015 being a tough year for her — her uneasy relationship with the RSS, the Congress accusing her of being involved in an alleged mining scam; her aide Ashok Singhvi being arrested for bribery — if Raje has managed to stay on, it’s because the BJP knows she is the most popular face in the state unit and she has the backing of a majority of the MLAs. Power Punch Raje’s alleged support for former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi’s UK immigration bid saw the Opposition demanding her removal. But Raje held her ground. There have been rumours of her strained relationship with the central leadership, particularly the PM. But with the BJP suffering a setback in Bihar, Raje is more comfortably placed. What Next Moving ahead, she needs to tackle dissent within the party and the poor shape of the state's finances. By the Way She believes 13 is a lucky number — she was sworn in on that date in December.

shivraj singh chauhan

23- Shivraj Singh Chouhan: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Why He completed 10 years in office in 2015, and is now the longest serving CM of the state. He was not even a member of the state Assembly when the job came his way. Last year, he was among the three BJP leaders whose resignation the Opposition demanded, leading to Parliament being stalled for days, but he survived. Power Punch The new crop insurance scheme announced by the PM was the culmination of an exercise started by him. The state recently won a central award in foodgrain production for the fourth consecutive time. What Next The recent political setbacks, especially in the bypoll to the Ratlam-Jhabua parliamentary constituency, have made him cautious. While he still has no intra-party rival to unsettle him — especially after Kailash Vijayvargiya’s elevation as party general secretary — the Vyapam case remains a sticking point. By the Way He spends five-six hours in his farm every week, where he grows grains, fruits and flowers.

manohar parrikar

24- Manohar Parrikar: Defence Minister Why As Defence Minister, he has dealt with contentious issues such as the servicemen’s demand for One Rank One Pension and almost refined the procurement policy that will henceforth govern defence deals worth millions of dollars in the country. Despite controversial statements that have put the government in a spot more than once, he continues to enjoy the faith of the political leadership. Power Punch Following allegations of corruption in promotion boards of the Army, Parrikar ordered a CBI probe against two serving major generals. What Next With the government stressing on Make in India, Parrikar’s challenge is to ensure that modernisation of the armed forces is not hit by the indigenisation efforts. How he spells out the blacklisting policy, clears delays in defence acquisitions and meets the expectations of the Indian defence industry remains to be seen. By the Way He loves reading fiction.

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25- Devendra Fadnavis: Maharashtra Chief Minister Why As Chief Minister of Maharashtra, a key state for the BJP and the NDA, the BJP's electoral success elsewhere will depend a lot on how Fadnavis fares here. As the second youngest CM of the state, after Sharad Pawar, Fadnavis's image, as that of a CM who is non-corrupt, young and dynamic, helps the party and the government. Power Punch After the just concluded Make in India week, Fadnavis announced that the state had got commitments worth Rs 8 lakh crore. What next? With municipal elections coming up in 2017, the BJP-Sena alliance will hope to retain its hold over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which the partners have held for three consecutive years. Under Fadnavis, the BJP will also hope to improve its performance vis a vis the Sena in the BMC elections. By the Way While his wife Amruta is a trained singer, not many know that Fadnavis himself can sing quite well.

lalu prasad yadav

26 - Lalu Prasad: RJD chief Why He silenced critics and surprised even friends by leading the RJD to the position of the single largest party in the Bihar Assembly in last year’s bitter and closely fought elections. Lalu’s second coming proved that he remains a past champion at caste politics, not just consolidating his support base but also ensuring that his vote got transferred to his allies. Power Punch Getting both his sons ministerial berths in the Bihar cabinet, including deputy chief ministership for Tejashwi. What Next When the JD(U) spoke of replicating the Mahagathbandhan model in other states, the RJD leader said this was not the time to talk of any individual. It was seen as Lalu’s unease at Nitish’s projection and that he might now look to assert himself more in the alliance. He must also ensure his cadres stay disciplined to ward off the ‘jungle raj’ taunts. By the Way He worked briefly as a clerk on contract in a veterinary college under the animal husbandry department in Patna.

baba ramdev

27- Ramdev: Yoga guru Why It seems now like this particular story was always foretold. First step, become a popular guru who promotes yoga and takes on “evil” multinational corporations; second step, get close to the ruling establishment; third step, sell natural products advocated earlier and build an empire. Baba Ramdev has shown that he is not just a guru in a country of gurus, his identity is hyphenated between the world of politics, spirituality and entrepreneurship. Power Punch All of last year, the biggest business story was centred on the Patanjali phenomenon. The baba now sells everything from noodles to shampoos, beating the big MNC conglomerates at their own game. He also lived down the controversy over being allowed to sell instant noodles without obtaining the mandatory product approvals from the FSSAI. What Next Brand Ramdev will next move into education, setting up a university in Delhi. He claims it will be of such high standard that students of Harvard and Cambridge will line up to take admission. By the Way Being Baba Ramdev is hard work. He starts his day at 3 am every morning and works for nearly 20 hours a day.

ghulam nabi azad

28- Ghulam Nabi Azad: Leader of Opposition in RS Why The Rajya Sabha has turned out to be the Achilles’ heel of the Modi government, and this soft-spoken 67-year-old has proved the ideal choice as its leader of Opposition. He is firm and aggressive but not provocative or quarrelsome. Azad also has a good rapport with leaders across parties, which helps mount a united offensive against the government. Power Punch Congress president Sonia Gandhi now increasingly looks up to him as a campaigner and crisis manager. He was her point person during the Bihar elections, and is involved in the party strategising for Assam. What Next The coming Budget Session is expected to be fiery, with the government lining up key Bills, and the Opposition raring to raise allegations against BJP CMs, the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, and the JNU row. Azad will be at the centre of it all. By the way A keen photographer, he always carries a camera during trips.

mallikarjun khagre

29- Mallikarjun Kharge: Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Why The Congress may be down to 45 MPs in the Lok Sabha, but the government has by now realised that this 73-year-old leader of Opposition is no pushover. He may lack rhetorical flourish, but his calm but firm demeanour, persistence and occasional flashes of aggressiveness have helped the Congress trouble the government and garner attention in the Lower House. Power Punch He forced Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to expunge her own remarks against the Congress, perhaps for the first time in the history of the House. As a member of the selection panel for the new CIC, he ensured that outgoing Delhi police chief B S Bassi was not picked for the job. What Next Although he is content with his present job, he still has an eye on Karnataka politics and dreams to become the chief minister of the state one day. By the way He was a hockey player and represented Gulbarga district in state championships.


30- Mayawati: Chairperson, BSP Why With Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav facing anti-incumbency and the BJP’s popularity dipping, the BSP president has emerged as a serious contender for 2017’s Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. She has met the BJP’s attempts to woo her Dalit base with sharp attacks. At the same time, Mayawati continues to keep her options open, at least in Parliament, where her nine-MP block voted for the government on the GST Bill. Power Punch Candidates supported by her party won the maximum number of zila panchayat wards during the elections in UP in November last year. What Next She must consolidate her support among Dalits and Muslims, and ensure that her caste card triumphs against the communal polarisation in play in the state. By the Way She is very strict about cleanliness at her residence and party office. She dislikes those who chew paan or gutkha. She won’t be caught talking to anyone chewing paan masala.

gautam adani

31- Gautam Adani: Adani Group Chairman Why Over the last year, Adani has been a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s industrial delegation on most trips abroad, in the process emerging as one of the most prominent faces of India Inc. abroad. Power Punch Adani Enterprises is India’s largest coal importer, while the Adani Group website says they hope to raise extractive capacity of thermal coal from 4 MMT in 2014 to 200 MMT per annum by 2020, “making Adani one of the largest mining groups in the world”. Adani Ports is India’s largest private port operator, while Adani Power is now among the country’s biggest private power companies. What Next On February 3, the Adani Group secured the approval of the Queensland government for the $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project in Galilee Basin, Australia. BY THE WAY He was in the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on 26/11 and was among the last to be moved out during the terrorist attack.

PK mishra

32- P K Mishra: Additional Principal Secretary to PM Why The 1972-batch IAS officer (Gujarat cadre) in the Prime Minister’s Office has established himself as the final authority on appointments to various posts in the Central government. No senior-level appointment or bureaucratic reshuffle can be effected without Mishra giving the go-ahead. Power Punch The recently launched crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, is essentially Mishra’s idea. He had worked extensively on this scheme during his stint as agriculture secretary in 2006-08. Under the scheme, the premium rates to be paid by farmers have been brought down substantially so as to enable more to avail insurance cover against crop loss due to natural calamities. What Next Mishra will be closely watched on whether he is able to ensure transparency and objectivity in central appointments. BY THE WAY Makes it a point to respond to all phone calls and SMSes, irrespective of who the caller is.

S Jaishankar

33- S Jaishankar: Foreign Secretary Why By appointing him as Foreign Secretary even before predecessor UPA-appointee Sujatha Singh could complete her tenure (the first foreign secretary to be removed thus in 28 years), the Narendra Modi government had made it clear that Jaishankar's diplomatic skills were crucial to its foreign policy. The Foreign Secretary has been closely involved in the Prime Minister’s much-publicised visits overseas — from Bangladesh to the UAE, and from the US to the UK. Power Punch Jaishankar is known for his ability to adapt to different political leaderships and for his realistic view of the hurdles facing India’s foreign policy. He also shares a special relationship with the PM since the time of Modi’s visit to China in 2012. Jaishankar was at the time India’s ambassador to China. What Next While his focus will be on Pakistan, with which ties have remained on a roller-coaster, this year, he will concentrate on consolidating the gains made by Modi during his travels in the last year-and-a-half. By the way He did his PhD in international relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, while training for the Indian Foreign Service.

uddhav thckeray

34- Uddhav Thackeray: Shiv Sena president Why Mumbai has always been the Shiv Sena’s nerve centre and as its leader, Uddhav Thackeray commands immense political clout. Power Punch Thackeray may not have been invited to the gala dinner on February 13 and to the other events presided over by PM Narendra Modi at the recent Make in India week, but in the programmes that he attended, guests made a beeline for him to exchange greetings. What Next The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections in early 2017 will be extremely crucial for the Sena which is facing a major challenge from not only Congress-NCP, but also its ally, the BJP. BMC is India’s richest municipal corporation with an annual budget of Rs 37,052 crore. By the way Thackeray is an avid photographer. A recent exhibition of his photos in Mumbai featured the Sena chief’s photographs of wildlife, iconic buildings in Maharashtra and Bollywood personalities.

ratan tata

35- Ratan Tata: Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons Why Through the Tata Trusts that he heads, Ratan Tata is pushing for finding sustainable permanent solutions for problems related to nutrition, health and energy etc, in partnership with organisations, institutions and state governments. Power Punch Tata has funded more than 25 start-ups over the last three years through his private investment company RNT Associates. Till February 2016, he has announced investments in six companies and a partnership with the Office of the Regents (UC Investments), University of California, to jointly fund startups, new companies and other enterprises in India. What Next Tata Trusts has signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to develop 264 villages in Vijayawada constituency and transform them into smart villages. By The Way Tata is very possessive about his cars and usually likes to drive them himself.

Arvind Panagariya

36- Arvind Panagariya: Vice-chairman, Niti Aayog Why Panagariya spearheads the institution that has replaced the Planning Commission and is tasked with turning NITI Aayog into an independent think-tank and also be at the fulcrum of Centre-state relations. Power Punch Panagariya is the only non-political person in Modi’s government who holds the rank and status of a cabinet minister. He also gets a first-hand view of all Cabinet papers and, on many occasions, leaves his reformist imprint on the Cabinet’s agenda. What Next He has to get the better of bureaucracy — unlike Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who had the then PM’s ears, Panagariya has been unable to catch Modi’s attention on many issues that NITI wants to push. He has to build a rapport with Cabinet ministers and state chief ministers. By the Way It took him a long while to uncover the beacon light on top of his official car because he is quite wary of how his actions will be interpreted in the corridors of power.

Venkaiah Naidu

37- M Venkaiah Naidu: BJP leader and Union Minister Why He holds two important portfolios — urban development and parliamentary affairs. Numbers are crucial in a parliamentary democracy and it is Naidu’s job to ensure that both Houses remain on track, particularly the Rajya Sabha, where the Modi government lacks majority. Power Punch When Rahul gave a “zero out of 10” to the Modi government after its first year in office, Naidu tweeted: “Rahul @OfficeOfRG gives Zero to NDA govt. Zeros can’t recognise Heroes. Zeros find Zeros only.” What Next He has to find a way to get contentious legislations, particularly the GST Bill, passed in the Rajya Sabha, during what is likely to be an acrimonious Parliament session. By the way After becoming the BJP president in 2002, he introduced a range of non-vegetarian food in the party menu and that, too, without a backlash. A perfect host, he has his cooks flown in along with fresh prawns, fish and other essentials from Andhra whenever he hosts a lunch in the capital.

arvind subramaian

38- Arvind Subramanian: Chief Economic Advisor Why Arvind Subramanian is the man behind the JAM — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile — trinity that is seen as a way to check subsidy leakages. He headed a panel on GST that suggested a standard rate of 17-18 per cent to be levied on most goods and all services. He has worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund earlier. Power Punch Subramanian kicked off the debate on deviation from fiscal consolidation roadmap by calling for re-assessment of fiscal deficit target for the next financial year in the mid-year economic analysis for 2015-16. What Next He is seen as a contender for the post of RBI Governor if current governor Raghuram Rajan does not get an extension in September this year. By the way Arvind Subramanian has a fondness for classical music — Carnatic and Hindustani — and likes listening to the works of MD Ramanathan, MS Subbulakshmi, Ustad Amir Khan and Nikhil Banerjee.

Nripendra Misra

39- Nripendra Misra: Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Why Handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nripendra Misra, a 1967-batch IAS officer, has emerged as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s go-to man in the Prime Minister’s Office. He has served as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India earlier. He is also the one handling major policy co-ordination between the PMO and various ministries. Power Punch Misra is believed to have played a crucial role in the government’s decision to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) for defence personnel. He also had a say in shaping the FDI policy initiatives of the Modi government. What Next As the man who is the link between the ministries and the PMO, Nripendra Misra will have to tackle head-on the prevalent impression — and the criticism — that the government is PMO-driven and too centralised and that major ministries don’t enjoy even functional autonomy. BY THE WAY Misra likes to listen to old Hindi film songs before retiring for the day. Even though he is health-conscious and likes doing yoga, his seven-day working week leaves him little time for it.

suresh prabhu

40- Suresh Prabhu: Railway Minister Why He has managed to bring fresh capital into the Railways, and stayed away from populist measures. His five-year prescription for the Railways has been hailed as the first serious application of mind by a minister in years, even if on paper. Under him, Railways has been responding to passenger woes in real time. Power Punch Narendra Modi risked the Shiv Sena’s wrath to choose ex-Sena man Prabhu to head the crucial ministry. What Next The coming rail budget will show if he can implement his ministry’s turnaround theories. The Seventh Pay Commission’s additional burden of Rs 32,000 crore on Railway finances leaves him with a tough balancing act. By the Way Prabhu’s diet is frugal, often including only fruits.

js khehar

41- J S Khehar: Supreme Court Judge Why J S Khehar will be India’s first Sikh Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court witnessed an extraordinary spectacle when the Attorney General of India questioned not only the manner in which judges were appointed but also their competence. But even as the government tried to defend the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Justice Khehar, heading the Constitution Bench, was unmoved. He quashed the NJAC, establishing the primacy of the CJI to appoint judges. Power Punch When he quashed the NJAC and upheld the Collegium, he gave little room to the government to try anything new. He headed the bench which cleared the path for government formation in Arunachal Pradesh. What Next He is going to decide actor Salman Khan’s fate in the 2002 hit-and-run case. By the way An avid dog lover, he bathes his pet, Coco, himself.

virat kohli

42- Virat Kohli: Cricketer Why At 27, he is India’s Test captain and easily one of the best young batsmen in the world. Last year, under his captaincy, India became the No. 1 Test side. Kohli is the ICC’s top T20 batsman and No. 2 in ODIs. Power Punch On a cricket field, he is always expressive, occasionally abusive too. Off the field, he is one of India’s most articulate sporting personalities. Kohli has cracked the complex art of multi-tasking. He can train for hours, shoot ad campaigns and attend Bollywood events. He has close to 10 million Twitter followers and a brand value of approximately Rs 100 crore. What Next It’s a matter of time before he replaces MS Dhoni as the India skipper in the ODI and T20 formats. Kohli’s next aim will be to better his mildly-anaemic Test record. By the way The west Delhi boy usually dines on pink salmon and a bottle of top-end mineral water on his overseas tours. He recently got into a business tie-up with Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.

mulayam singh yadav

43- Mulayam Singh Yadav: Chairperson, Samajwadi Party Why Despite losing heavily in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Mulayam Singh continues to hold sway due to his support base among OBCs (mainly Yadavs) and Muslims. In the caste-ridden politics of the Hindi heartland, the Yadav satrap is considered the best player of the caste card. Having connections across party lines also helps Mulayam remain relevant. Power Punch Four years after son Akhilesh took over as the chief minister in the state, Mulayam remains the de-facto CM of UP. He still calls the shots in the party, including ensuring Amar Singh’s presence at his birthday bash in Saifai in November last year. He also consolidated his Yadav support base through a matrimonial alliance between his nephew and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter. What Next With incidents of communal violence on the rise in UP, all eyes are on the Assembly polls in UP next year. BY THE WAY A veteran politician, Mulayam still writes personal letters to stay in touch with partymen.

chandrababu naidu

44- N Chandrababu Naidu: Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh Why The first chief minister of Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation, Naidu seems cut out for the job. Though Hyderabad will be the joint capital till 2024, the state is marshalling resources to build its capital Amaravathi by 2018, in spite of a cash crunch. Andhra Pradesh also recorded an economic growth rate of 13.94 per cent in the second quarter — an average half-yearly growth of 11.77 per cent. Power Punch Naidu used his knack for putting out political fires after getting singed by the Kapu reservation protest. He not only managed to placate its leader Mudragadda Padmanabham to withdraw his protest, but also to keep the powerful community on his side. What Next The focus is now on developing the state evenly across the 13 districts, creating jobs especially in the IT and manufacturing sector, and mitigating farmers’ problems.  BY THE WAY Naidu has been working out of a temporary office in Vijayawada. He had hired a bungalow on the banks of Krishna as residence.

raman singh

45- Raman Singh: Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh Why Chhattisgarh remains one of the few states to be continually troubled by Maoist insurgencies. Many believed that this would lead Raman Singh to lose favour with the new Centre, but he is set to complete 15 years in the CM’s post. Power Punch Recently, during the Make in India week in Mumbai, Singh said that while Chhattisgarh remains strong in industries such as steel, cement, power and aluminium, it wants to attract investments in sunrise industries. Generally averse to upsetting his ministers and bureaucrats, he surprised everyone by removing a supremely powerful police officer. What Next He faces a big challenge from a resurgent Congress, led by its belligerent state chief, Bhupesh Baghel, in the state. By the way A cricket lover, he is a left hander and bowls leg spin. During IPL matches in Raipur, his photographs in cricket gear adorn the city’s walls.

piyush goyal

46- Piyush Goyal: Minister of State for Coal and Power, Independent Charge Why Piyush Goyal is overseeing long-term structural improvement measures in the electricity sector that could set the stage for powering India as and when an industrial uptick happens. Power Punch When the BJP government came to power, an estimated 18,482 villages in the country didn’t have electricity. The Power Ministry has added 22,566 MW of generation capacity addition in the last year, the highest ever. What Next Goyal has rolled out UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana), a vital distribution reform package. Within four months, over two dozen states have signalled their intention to join the scheme. Goyal claims that under the scheme, all villages in the country will get electricity by 2019. BY THE WAY A chartered accountant by training, he had earlier served on the boards of two of the largest state-owned commercial banks, the State Bank of India and the Bank of Baroda.

anand mahindra

47- Anand Mahindra: Chairman & MD, Mahindra & Mahindra Why Under him, the company group has moved beyond its flagship utility vehicle business to take a leadership position across a number of other areas, including tractors, information technology and vacation ownership. M&M has successfully acquired a number of high-profile brands, including Satyam Computer Services, Reva Electric Motors and South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor Company. Power Punch M&M, along with group firm Tech Mahindra Ltd, acquired iconic Italian automotive and industrial design company Pininfarina SpA in December 2015. Pininfarina's legendary brand status is expected to provide the Mahindra group access to relationships the iconic designer firm has nurtured with the best in the world over its 85-year history, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Peugeot. What Next New growth areas, focused on real estate development, aerospace, retail, defence, energy, financial services and logistics. BY THE WAY A self-confessed blues fan, he counts blues greats Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and B B King as among his favourites. Cites The Beatles as yet another big musical influence.

fali s nariman

48- Fali S Nariman: Senior Advocate, Supreme Court Why One of the most respected lawyers in the country, Nariman remains the first choice when questions of constitutional importance reach the Supreme Court. The octogenarian has always fought for what he calls “constitutional principles.” Power Punch He was the petitioner’s counsel as the Supreme Court held the NJAC to be unconstitutional. What Next He is now arguing against the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh. By The Way He waives off fees if a case appeals to him and the litigant can’t pay.

anil ambani

49- Anil Ambani: Chairman, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group Why With his companies under high debt, he chalked out a strategy to sell non-core assets, entered the defence sector and acquired Pipavav Defence. Reliance Defence has emerged as a big private player. Power Punch Recently, Reliance Defence signed a $6 billion pact with Russian arms firm AlmazAntey. There’s also a Rs 66,000 crore deal with Russian United shipyards for four frigates. What Next To further consolidate businesses, reduce overall debt, and enhance defence manufacturing. By The Way Relations between the brothers have improved a fair bit in the last year.

sukhbir singh badal

50- Sukhbir S Badal: President, Shiromani Akali Dal Why As a key strategist, he planned the Sadbhawna rallies to pull the Akali Dal through one of its worst slumps, triggered by the alleged Moga molestation incident, farmers’ protests and other controversies. Power Punch He kept the Army and the NIA out of the Dinanagar anti-terrorist operations. What Next Ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections, he is battling strong anti-incumbency, a resurgent Punjab Congress and a strengthening AAP in the state. By the Way He owns a macaw as well as two poodles, Handsome and Pretty.