Sonia, Manmohan in 20 most powerful list: Forbes

Washington : India’s Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh figured among Forbes’ list of world’s 70 most powerful people in 2011 as US Barack Obama regained his position at the top.

Obama bumped Chinese President Hu Jintao from the No. 1 spot on the magazine’s annual rankings to the third place with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin taking the second position.

Gandhi, 64, described as “India’s most powerful politician (who) has twice refused to serve as prime minister, delegating that job to Manmohan Singh” dropped two notches from her ninth position last year to be ranked the 11th most powerful person and 7th powerful woman.

Manmohan Singh, 79, “the incorruptible Cambridge- and Oxford-educated economist (is) widely respected as the man behind India’s economic reforms, which have led to the subcontinent’s blistering growth over the last decade,” too dropped a notch to be rated the 19th most powerful.

Other Indians on the list included Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani ranked 35th, India’s top billionaire ArcelorMittal Chairman Lakshmi Mittal in the 47th spot and Wipro chairman Azim Premji at the 61st spot.

D-Company leader Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, “organized crime figure (is) suspected of involvement in both the 1993 and 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai” was ranked 57th, a notch behind Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence chief, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, while Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was ranked 34th.

Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, 76, living in exile in India was ranked 51st, a notch behind former US President Bill Clinton.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel remained the most powerful woman at No. 4 on the list, as Europe’s largest economy continued to wield its influence over the troubled European Union.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is at No. 5 on the list while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has skyrocketed from No. 40 to No. 9, sandwiched between US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (No. 8) and British Prime Minister David Cameron at No. 10.

The king of the world’s largest oil producer Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, came in at No. 6 and Pope Benedict XVI was No. 7.

New Apple CEO Tim Cook (58th), Chinese premier Wen Jiabao (14th), and new IMF managing director Christine Lagarde are among 14 newcomers.

Ten people dropped off the list, among them Oprah Winfrey, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Bin Laden, the late Steve Jobs and Julian Assange.

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