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Images: People who shaped the decade

Last updated on: December 29, 2009 21:26 IST

'Sonia rebuilt India's largest political party'

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Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati are among the four Indians named in the Financial Times list of '50 People Who Shaped the Decade.'

Non-Resident Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and India-born Pepsico Chief Indra Nooyi are the other two Indians in the league of 50, which among others also features Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and United States President Barack Obama.

The list includes the name of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US president George Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, US Fed Chairman Ben S Bernanke, inventor of famed television programme format 'Big Brother' -- John De MoI.

About the 50, the UK daily said, "Not all are heroes, some are villains, and many fall somewhere in between."

On Sonia Gandhi, the publication noted that as Congress party's leader since 1998, she has rebuilt India's largest political party.

"In doing so, Gandhi has assured continuity of the Nehru-Gandhi family after the assassinations of her husband and mother-in-law. She has also upheld the national secular vision of India won by Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister in 1947 at the end of British rule," the report said.

The Financial Times noted that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are carefully positioned to follow her example.

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Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe / Reuters
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'The champion of lower castes'

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Pointing out that she is often called the 'dalit queen,' the daily said that Mayawati has built a political career as champion of the lower castes and is head of the Bahujan Samaj Party.

"Feared for her fierce temper and unpredictability, she has ambitions to enlarge her mission of upliftment of a community downtrodden for centuries beyond UP," the report stated.

"Since a landslide state election victory in May, 2007, Mayawati has transformed Lucknow, the state capital, with huge sandstone monuments to honour the heroes of those at the bottom of India's caste ladder," the report added.


Image: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
Photographs: Pawan Kumar / Reuters
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The least competent American president?

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On the 43rd American president George W Bush, the report noted that 'attempts to rehabilitate him still have a long way to go to dent the remarkably broad consensus that his tenure was one of the least competent ones.'

"Two charges are laid at his door. First by expanding the 'war on terror,' after 9/11 attacks to include the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush fuelled jihadism and left his country more isolated than it had been in decades. Second, having inherited a budget surplus, Bush bequeathed the largest deficit since the Second World War," the report noted.


Image: Jordanians from opposition parties hold their shoes beside a poster of George Bush
Photographs: Ali Jarekji / Reuters
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'The symbol of defiance'

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been 'the symbol of Iran's defiance west in its pursuit of a nuclear programme, even if he is not the regime's ultimate decision-maker,' the report opined.

"He was re-elected in controversial poll in 2009, during which his opponents alleged widespread fraud leading to leading to protests throughout the country," the reported noted.


Image: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photographs: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters
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'The spiritual leader of the global jihad'

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Leader of Al Qaida Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11 terror attacks in US, 'epitomised the past decade more than any other event,' the report stressed.

"The attacks triggered the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and were precursor to a wave of terrorism that hit Britain, India, Indonesia and Spain," the report noted.

"Western Intelligence agencies are confident he is alive in the Pakistan tribal areas, protected by several hundred core followers," the report added.


Image: Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden

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