Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have been named among the top 20 most powerful persons in the world by Forbes magazine in its annual power rankings. It has placed US President Barack Obama in the number one position for the second year in a row.
Gandhi — who dropped a notch from last year — ranks at number 12 this year.
India’s richest businessman, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, and Arcelor Mittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal also feature in the list. Ambani at 37 outranked Mittal, an industrialist of Indian origin, by several positions.
“As leader of India’s ruling political party, Gandhi has the reins of the world's second-most-populous country and tenth-largest economy,” said the citation on Gandhi.
The magazine noted that Rahul Gandhi is next in line to take over “India’s most famous political dynasty”.
The citation for PM Singh however, was less flattering and more forthright. While calling him the architect of India's economic reforms, the magazine said “Singh’s quiet intellectualism is increasingly seen as timid and soft”.
And Ambani, who was described as the richest Indian heading the country’s most valued company, got a mention for his home as the “world’s most expensive private residence”. Antilia, the 27-storeyed, 400,000-sqft Ambani home in Mumbai, continues to fascinate the western press, with reams dedicated to it in The New York Times and Vanity Fair.
Pakistan’s Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was ranked number 28 as “the most powerful man in an unstable country”. As de facto leader, the note said, he “controls nuclear weapons and one of the world’s largest standing armies”.