High & Mighty: The clout wielders

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The India Today political power list of 2021 provides a quick overview of the strongest players giving direction to the political discourse in the country.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Mamata Banerjee
Chief Minister of West Bengal on India Today’s High & Mighty List of Politicians

The global Covid pandemic, which hit the world last year, not only took away the lives of millions and devastated economies, it also reorganised the political order in many regions. India was among the countries hit the hardest by the ravaging virus, yet, the political impact of Covid is still not evident.

The global Covid pandemic, which hit the world last year, not only took away the lives of millions and devastated economies, it also reorganised the political order in many regions. India was among the countries hit the hardest by the ravaging virus, yet, the political impact of Covid is still not evident.

Six states went to polls since the pandemic broke out in India in March 2020—all before the second wave of Covid hit the country in early April 2021—but it was not an electoral issue during the campaigns. The political power order of the country has remained largely unchanged with the RSS-BJP ecosystem firmly entrenched at the top. While de facto Congress chief Rahul Gandhi remains the sole national voice against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government, recent political movements have seen the emergence of regional satraps as new power centres.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee not only withstood a massive BJP campaign to dethrone her in the assembly poll earlier this year but is also now projecting herself as an alternative to Modi. In this quest, she will need the support of Maratha stalwart Sharad Pawar, who is the unofficial nerve centre of the Maharashtra government.

The India Today political power list of 2021 provides a quick overview of the strongest players giving direction to the political discourse in the country.

—Kaushik Deka, Anilesh S. Mahajan, Ashish Misra, Romita Datta and Kiran D. Tare

  1. Narendra Modi: Master of all he surveys

  2. Amit Shah: The ultimate enforcer

  3. Mohan Bhagwat and Dattatreya Hosabale: The invisible long arm

  4. Yogi Adityanath: The militant mascot

  5. Nitin Gadkari: Infrastructure powerhouse

  6. Mamata Banerjee: The tallest challenger

  7. Sharad Pawar: The persistent matchmaker

  8. J. P. Nadda: Counterpoising weight

  9. B.L. Santhosh: Trusty go-between

  10. Rahul Gandhi: His party’s voice

Click here for IndiaToday.in’s complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

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