In India, change is so rapid it surprises even the powerful. Fortunes vanish, markets melt down, and the most die-hard fans find someone else to love, someone else to vote for.
Take, for instance, Navin Chawla. With 712 million voters considering their ballot as Indians vote on who will lead their country, one of India's most powerful men is perhaps the Chief Election Commissioner. India's elections began on Apr. 15 and take place in stages nationwide over several weeks. During that time, Chawla is a bureaucrat with almost unlimited powers to impose order on an unruly process, moderate hate speech, and herd the world's largest democracy through a peaceful transfer of power. But on June 16, the elections will end, and he will vanish back into the labyrinth of the Indian bureaucracy.
In modern India, even powerful reigns can be short-lived. In the newest edition of BusinessWeek's list of the 50 most influential Indians, politicians jostle for space with professors, businessmen with cricketers. The attempt is to pinpoint the shifts in power that defined India in the past year, and to predict the players to watch for in the next year.
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