Swami and Friends: the Indian Express Top 10 Indians

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the daily claims to "map the lay of the land" through the 100 most 'powerful' Indians

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud offers Prime Minister Narendra Modi a statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Supreme Court (photo courtesy @barandbench/X)
Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud offers Prime Minister Narendra Modi a statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Supreme Court (photo courtesy @barandbench/X)

NH Political Bureau

Just weeks before the 2024 general elections, Indian Express unveiled its 'IE 100' list, spotlighting what it claimed are the the 100 most influential individuals in India this year.

With the Lok Sabha seats on our collective mind, apparently this makes for a list led by politicians—and a couple of important exceptions that leave a thoughtful citizen squinting.

The Indian Express acknowledges this list seems like an all-too-familiar, BJP-dominated story: Topping the chart are the familiar faces of prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. But indeed, the Top 10 is occupied by RSS–BJP membership—with the sole exceptions being Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and business magnate Gautam Adani.

Meanwhile, Opposition finds its place in the next 10 ranks on the IE 100 list. Those politicians and a few other curiosities lower down the order include:

  • Mamata Banerjee ranked at No. 15, ahead of Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal

  • Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin in the 20s, representing "a Southern barrier the (BJP) is finding difficult to cross"

  • Azim Premji, a philanthropist in counterpoint to the Adanis and Ambanis, at No. 37

  • Sportspersons Neeraj Chopra and Vinesh Phogat, as much lauded for their achievements as their human spirit in the face of prejudice and oppression

  • Jay Shah, secretary of the BCCI (and son of Amit Shah), standing ahead of actual cricketers, and rather popular ones at that: Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma

The following are the top 10 contenders of the IE 100 2024:

1.  Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

The Indian Express signposted his abrogation of Article 370, the G20 summit and consecration of the Ram Temple.

2. Amit Shah, Union Home Minister

The IE 100 list underscored Shah's 'long political-personal arc with the Prime Minister' and noted him for 'piloting' the three Bills that 'overhauled' India’s British-era criminal justice system.

3. Mohan Bhagwat, RSS sarsanghchalak

Bhagwat's presence alongside Modi during the pran pratishtha ceremony at the Ayodhya Ram Temple conveyed a 'strong and impactful message', the Indian Express thinks.

4. DY Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India

He has led the Supreme Court in a 'fractious, polarised polity', it has been said.

5. S Jaishankar, minister of external affairs

Almost five years into his job, Jaishankar been credited as emerging as the 'Modi government’s most articulate voice on the global stage'.

6. Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh

Adityanath has been described as the man who has successfully combined 'his spiritual authority with his political might'.

7. Rajnath Singh, minister of defence

The Indian Express makes a point of his 'wide administrative and political experience'.

8. Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of finance and corporate affairs

Sitharaman has been commended for delivering a 'fiscally prudent' budget shortly preceding the elections.

9. J.P. Nadda, BJP national president

J.P. Nadda has been credited for his leadership skills, particularly for securing victories in the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.

10. Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group

Adani's status as the second-wealthiest individual in India is reportedly the major reason for this inclusion in the Top 10.

With the surfeit of laurels for the ruling party, surely some citizens wonder—given its specific mention of the general elections around the corner— who or what purpose is this list meant to serve?

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