The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 21-30

Jayalalithaa

21. Jayalalithaa, 63

Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Rank '11: 16

WHY

She has made a spectacular comeback by ousting the DMK from power. After she became Chief Minister, she has made clear her intentions to take on the Centre, joining the growing list of powerful opposition chief ministers.

POWER PUNCH

On her very first visit to Delhi after taking over as CM, she made it clear that she had specific targets. She directly attacked Home Minister P Chidambaram, questioning his election in 2009 and asking for his resignation. And back in Tamil Nadu, when her own long-time associate and 'surrogate sister' Sasikala showed signs of becoming too big for her boots, Jayalalithaa expelled her from the party and also her house.

WHAT NEXT

Her ambition of playing a larger role in national politics is no secret. Whenever the next Lok Sabha elections are held, she is likely to be an important player in deciding who the Prime Minister will be. And that is not lost on the national parties.

BY THE WAY

Fourteen years ago, when she was raided in corruption cases, she vowed never to wear jewellery till she was cleared of all charges. This year, after storming back to power, she was spotted wearing diamond earrings.


22. Azim Premji, 66

Chairman, Wipro Ltd

Rank '11: 19

WHY

Guided his over $7 billion company and its information technology business through a top management rejig and lost very little time in setting it back on a path of revenue growth. As part of a group of eminent citizens, Azim Premji kept the government awake to sliding governance and decision-making.

POWER PUNCH

In October 2011, he told the government that it must seriously appreciate the fact that "the complete absence of decision-making in the government can set growth back". Premji pledged to donate $2 billion to boost school education in India. The donation is considered the largest of its kind to date by any Indian billionaire.

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