West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been named among the 100 most influential people in the world by the Time magazine in its 2012 list which also includes U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and billionaire investor Warren Buffet.
Apart from Ms. Banerjee, advocate Anjali Gopalan, who works for the rights of gays and the transgendered people in India, is the only other Indian in the list released by the magazine on Wednesday.
The 2012 list is topped by American basketball sensation Jeremy Lin.
In recent days, Ms. Banerjee’s government has been criticised for choice of newspapers for state and state-aided libraries and a professor’s arrest over circulation of a cartoon featuring the chief minister.
Time said Ms. Banerjee, 57, spent years struggling on the margins but ultimately she proved to be the “consummate politician.”
“Though much of Indian society remains hidebound in patriarchy and tradition, strong women still prevail in the nation’s political life. Mamata Banerjee rose to the fore last year when she and a movement she built from the grassroots wrested control of her home state of West Bengal, ending three and a half decades of sclerotic communist rule,” Time said.
Referred to by her supporters as ‘Didi’, Ms. Banerjee was labelled by critics as a “mercurial oddball and a shrieking street fighter”.