Mayawati debuts in Forbes' Powerful Women List

Making her debut in the club of 100 most powerful women in the world, Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati has joined Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a list compiled by US magazine Forbes.While Gandhi, also the chairperson of ruling UPA alliance, has slipped from her previous year's sixth rank to 21st this year, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has made her debut at 59th. The list also includes Indra Nooyi,the Indian-origin chief of global softdrink major PepsiCo, at third position, up from fifth lastyear,and Indian biotechnology firm Biocon's chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at 99th. The list has been topped by German chancellor Angela Merkel. On Gandhi, the magazine said the Italian-born leader of India's most powerful political party has by now assumed the role of elder stateswoman. "Although she remains firmly at the head of the country's ruling party, a rising star, known by the single name Mayawati, is challenging Gandhi's position as the country's most powerful woman." The magazine said that Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP party and joined its members in vociferously opposing Gandhi's party's historic agreement with the US on nuclear cooperation.
The magazine described Mayawati as the one, "in the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state." "In 1995, at 39,she was the youngest politician elected to the post and was also the first Dalit... to head a state government," it said. The report further said that Mayawati commands a large following and goes simply by her firstname. "In 2007,she shrewdly built an alliance with Brahmins,and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which she heads,has started to increase its national presence. Some say she could trail-blaze again as India's first Dalit prime minister."
According to Forbes, its annual ranking of the most powerful women in the world measures "power" as a composite of public profile and financial heft. The economic component considers job title and past career accomplishments, as well as the amount of money the woman controls.
Merkel is followed by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp chairman Sheila C Bair of the US at the second position.

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