London: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and industrialist Ratan Tata were among the world’s “50 most influential people” along with German chancellor Angel Merkel, who was ranked No 1, according to a survey by UK-based magazine NewStatesman.
The list, however, features a number of controversial figures including the chief of the Pakistan army general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Republican Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann, described as “scarier than Sarah Palin” and al-Qaeda’s “spiritual leader” Anwar al-Awlaki.
Describing Gandhi as “Madam India”, the survey included the Congress president in the list for the political power she wields as much as her capacity as the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
“Italian-born Sonia Gandhi is widely considered as one of the most powerful politicians in India, becoming the longest-serving president in the history of the Indian National Congress on being re-elected for the fourth time in September 2010,” the magazine said highlighting the fact that she is daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Tata, dubbed as “Metal Head”, was hailed as a symbol of “India’s emergence as an international powerhouse” and credited with giving Indian business a global reach with the acquisition of the British steel manufacturer Corus and the prestigious Jaguar Land Rover car by the Tata Group.
His statement that his successor need not be an Indian is described as a “sign that his is a truly global business.”