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Ten people who influenced the headlines in 2011

Monday December 26, 2011 10:28:49 PM, IANS

2011 in Retrospect

A difficult year for Pakistan

The year 2011 saw Pakistan making headlines for all the wrong reasons, compounded by yearend uncertainty about the political future of a nation that is a declared nuclear power. Will the military take over the reins of government yet again was the common refrain  

A year of satisfactory space missions

To those we said sayonara... RIP

Robust growth in telecom amid shadow of 2G case

India-Pakistan ties: A year of building trust

The year of social activism in India

Making India-US ties a 'cornerstone of Asia-Pacific century'

Jailhouse rock for the high and mighty

Jugnu capped India's technological achievements

New Delhi: Following are the ten indians who made the headlines in the year 2011.


Manmohan Singh: The year winds down on a dismal note for the prime minister with corruption and the economy continuing to be the millstones he just couldn't get rid of.

Anna Hazare was breathing down his neck for a stronger anti-graft law and senior ministers like P. Chidambaram were also alleged to be involved in corruption. The rupee plumbed new depths to reach 54 to the dollar and growth slowed down to 6.9 percent for Q2.

Questions arose again on his ability to govern. With Congress president Sonia Gandhi unwell in the key weeks of the Anna agitation, he battled allegations of being a non-performer. He was isolated politically in what was perhaps the lowest point in his seven years in the post. Things were no better on the foreign policy front with little tangible movement on Pakistan and China.

Anna Hazare: The year belonged to the diminutive man who led an unparalleled movement against corruption with two hunger strikes that brought Lokpal into the lexicon and forced the government virtually to its knees. Bringing back a certain old age idealism, the 73-year-old Gandhian from Maharashtra was dismissed by some as anachronistic but realpolitik saw him and his team battle for their version of the Lokpal bill, isolating the Congress as parties rallied around to their side. For his fight against graft and also for gaffes, like backing the attack on union minister Sharad Pawar, Hazare stayed in the headlines through the year.

A. Raja: The once powerful communications minister of the DMK was a metaphor for corruption in 2011, becoming the first of 14 people to be arrested in the multi-crore rupee 2G spectrum allocation scam. After his arrest Feb 2, DMK MP Kanimohzi as well as corporate honchos like Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and influential officials like former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura found themselves in New Delhi's Tihar Jail.

Rahul Gandhi: The sceptics were many but the peripatetic Congress general secretary set out to prove them wrong as he crisscrossed the country in 2011, sometimes to mobilise youth into joining politics, other times walking into village homes to hear the problems of people and share a meal. In a sign of his growing profile, Gandhi, 41, became part of the four-member committee to handle affairs of the party when his mother Sonia Gandhi was abroad for an undisclosed illness. He may have arguably become the most travelled politician, but the litmus test lies only months away when Uttar Pradesh and other states go to the polls.

Sushil Kumar: He was the everyday man who went from becoming a computer operator earning Rs.6,000 in Motihari, Bihar, to winning Rs.5 crore on the TV show "Kaun Banega Crorepati". The sensational turnaround in fortunes made the 27-year-old an instant celebrity, living the dreams of an entire nation. The man became brand ambassador for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Lucrative endorsements were said to be coming the way of the unlikely posterboy.

Vijay Mallya: The King of Good Times found himself in deep trouble as the year ended with his Kingfisher Airlines being forced to close down its low cost operations and owing crores of rupees to fuel suppliers and airport managements. The flamboyant Mallya, a Rajya Sabha MP, was also in the news in his role as owner of the Formula One team Force India, a part stake of which he sold to Sahara.

Omar Abdullah: As chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he is a man in the national spotlight anyway. But Abdullah was also in the news through the year for his stance on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), his relentless tweeting on a range of issues from Anna Hazare to Dev Anand and also for being the rare politician to declare upfront that there was indeed trouble in his marriage but people should leave him alone.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: He led the Indian team to the World Cup win in 2011, ending India's 28-year-old wait for a second world title. Immediately after the World Cup, the Chennai Super Kings under the captainship of Dhoni became the first Indian Premier League (IPL) team to win back-to-back titles. A see-saw followed. India failed to win a single match during the English summer and were also dislodged from their No.1 spot in Tests. The India team took sweet revenge in England by beating them 5-0 in the return five-match series.

Reddy Brothers: The notoriously rich Brothers Reddy have manipulated Karnataka politics by proxy from their bastion in the iron ore-rich district of Bellary. G. Janardhana, G. Karunakara and G. Somashekara, two of whom were ministers, are now feeling sidelined by their former BJP patrons and are believed to be close to floating a new party. Janardhana is directing power games from his cell in a Hyderabad jail where he has been lodged since Sep 5 for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore rupee illegal mining scam.

Vidya Balan: The year opened with her playing the role of the intense, bespectacled sister determined to get justice for her murdered sister in "No One Killed Jessica" and ended with the projection of unabashed sexuality seldom seen in mainstream cinema in "The Dirty Picture". Both pictures were hits and Vidya Balan became not just one of Hindi cinema's most successful actors but also one of its most respected.










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