The most powerful Indians in 2011: No. 71-80
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71. MK Narayanan, 76
Governor of Bengal
NEW ON THE LIST
He makes it to the list because of the big political event this year: the West Bengal elections. The change of guard in the state will not be without its share of high drama and Narayanan will have a big role in mediating that.
Narayanan's frequent strong statements condemning political violence in Bengal are seen as a way to put pressure on the state government.
Narayanan will become more active if West Bengal's pre-election violence increases. Post-election, if there isn't a clear verdict, his role becomes bigger.
BY THE WAY
Narayanan, who is an ex-cop and an ex-spook, habitually inspects bullet marks whenever he visits sites of political violence.
72. Vinod Rai, 62
Comptroller and Auditor General of India
NEW ON THE LIST
He makes it to the power list this year because of the CAG audit report on the 2G spectrum auction — the most damning indictment of the department of telecom under ex-minister A Raja. The CAG said the irregularities in the auction led to a revenue loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal slammed that figure, but Rai refused to be drawn into an argument or backtrack from the report.
The CAG report forced the government's hand and led to the exit of Raja. Under him, the CAG has been vigilant against corruption: whether it was the lack of preparedness for the CWG or questions over DMRC's quality control and bidding process.
He'll appear before the SC as a witness on the 2G scam issue. The CAG will submit its audit report on the CWG in the Budget session.