Forbes names Sonia 6th most powerful woman

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was on Wednesday ranked the sixth most powerful woman in the world, ahead of US First Lady Michelle Obama, by Forbes magazine in its list of 100 women, which was topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the second year in a row.

Gandhi, 65, is among the five Indian women who have been named in the 'World's 100 Most Powerful Women' list released by Forbes on Wednesday.

She was ranked 7th last year. Giving Gandhi company is Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo Indra Nooyi who was ranked at 12th followed by Cisco Systems Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior at 58th place, ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar at 59th and Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at 80th rank.

Forbes said Gandhi the "one-time heir to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty", successfully underwent a surgery last year and was "back in fighting spirit last month when she publicly reprimanded a fellow parliamentarian during session who had criticised her party's handling of this summer's rioting in Assam."

The longest serving chief in the Congress party's history, Gandhi has had to defend herself and the party after a spate of key assembly elections this year, blaming the drubbing on weak candidates and state party organisations. "Lauded for overseeing heavy economic growth, she is also criticised for tolerating political corruption and failing to forge connections with India's fastest-growing demographic--younger voters," the publication said.

An avid scholar of the arts, Gandhi holds a degree in oil painting conservation. Merkel occupied the spot of the world's most powerful woman for the second year in a row.

Calling her the 'Iron Lady' of Europe, Forbes said she is the lead player in the eurozone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets. "As Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have teetered on the brink of an economic collapse, she has vowed to do everything in her power to preserve the 17-country European Union," Forbes said.

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