Occupation: President of India's Congress Party
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 2
Sonia Gandhi has steered India's Congress Party through a nasty spate of scandals in its second term. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cultivates closer ties with the U.S., Gandhi dictates the party's domestic agenda. She has expanded popular subsidy programs, ignoring warnings about massive budget deficits, and has consolidated power within her tight inner circle. Singh may be one of the world's most respected heads of state, but at home, Madam has the last word.