India

Mamata Banerjee makes it to Time magazine's list

  • 19 April 2012
  • From the section India
Mamata Banerjee leading his supporters
Image caption Mamata Banerjee is a street-fighting politician

Chief minister of India's West Bengal state Mamata Banerjee has been named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world .

The magazine described Ms Banerjee, 57, as a "consummate politician" and her party as a "feisty rabble".

Ms Banerjee came to power in 2011, bringing to an end the state's 34-year communist rule.

Her government has attracted a lot of negative publicity recently for cracking down on its critics.

Time magazine said Ms Banerjee "spent years struggling on the margins, her Trinamool Congress Party a feisty rabble compared with the leviathan of West Bengal's communists".

"Referred to by her supporters as Didi, or 'elder sister', she was labelled by critics as a mercurial oddball and a shrieking street fighter."

The magazine said Ms Banerjee's "lower-middle-class background was no obstacle in a country notorious for its dynasties".

"In Delhi's back rooms, where political horse trading is the name of the game, she excelled. On the streets, she out-Marxed the Marxists.

"And as chief minister of her home state, she has emerged as a populist woman of action - strident and divisive but poised to play an even greater role in the world's largest democracy," the magazine said.

The only other Indian on the list is health campaigner Anjali Gopalan.

"Through her work at the Naz Foundation, she has done more than anyone else to advance the rights of gays and the transgendered in India, successfully petitioning the courts to get rid of a British-era law against sodomy," the magazine wrote.

The list also includes US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, businessman Warren Buffett, Apple CEO Tim Cook, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and her sister, Pippa Middleton.

Pakistan's first Oscar-winner filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry also figure on the list.

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