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Politics: Sonia Gandhi

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

Politics: Sonia Gandhi

Age: 62
Congress Party Leader

Italian-born Sonia Gandhi is the latest member of the Nehru dynasty to control the Congress Party, and through it, India. Since the 1991 assassination of her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, she has moved in and out of the shadows in the leadership of the most powerful political party in India, and been elected several times to Parliament. After Congress managed to put together a coalition in 2004, she declined the post of Prime Minister, nominating Manmohan Singh instead. Since then, though, she has emerged as the true power behind Congress, energizing the base and preparing her son Rahul for the job of Congress leader and potential Prime Minister.