Sonia on Time’s list of 100 most influential people


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New Delhi : Congress president Sonia Gandhi, steel baron Lakshmi Mittal and Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi have figured in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people.

The annual list that features in the magazine's Asian edition cover, also includes Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

However, US President George Bush is missing for the first time in four years in the list.

"The person who probably wields influence in the way people don't understand, even if it's behind the scenes somewhat, is Sonia Gandhi. And we really should recognize that. So, that's why she's on the list this year," said magazine's managing editor, Adi Ingnatius.

Gandhi, 60, figures in the category of leaders and revolutionaries.

In a write up on Gandhi, Time says in the 16 years since the death of her husband (Rajiv Gandhi), she had become the face of the country's most famous family and as leader of the Congress party, she has managed the largest political party in the country and steered it to victory.

When her party won the elections in 2004, she was offered the prime ministership; she listened to her "inner voice" and turned it down, and anointed the economist Manmohan Singh in her stead, the magazine recalled.

"It was a gesture that was, well, Gandhian. And it solidified her hold on power. For ordinary Indians, this act of renunciation held tremendous mythic resonance. Though Singh is prime minister, it is Sonia, who is the kingmaker.

"And her most lasting legacy may lie in her children Rahul and Priyanka, one of whom may well become India's prime minister someday, ascending to the high office that their mother has thus far "renounced," it said.

Time magazine has a red carpet gala planned for Tuesday. But the only Indian citizen on the Time 100 list, Sonia Gandhi, is not expected to attend it.