Politics: Narendra Modi

Politics: Narendra Modi

Age: 59
Chief Minister, Gujarat

As one of India's most charismatic leaders, Narendra Modi is a contradiction. The bachelor Chief Minister of India's northwestern state of Gujarat is both dynamic and disturbing. A leader in the right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party, he has turned Gujarat into a top investment destination. For instance, after protests last year forced Tata Motors to abandon plans to build a factory in West Bengal, the company received a warm welcome in Gujarat. But Modi's many critics allege that he presided over one of the worst riots in Indian history when more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, died in 2002. He denies any wrongdoing but human-rights groups say he instructed police not to interfere. Modi has been working hard to refurbish his image, and his popularity within the BJP could one day catapult him into the hot seat of the world's largest democracy.