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Nationalist Congress Party Chief
As the leader of a breakaway faction of the Congress Party, Sharad Pawar drifts in and out of national prominence with regularity. Once written off as a has-been after his rift with Congress in 1999 over Sonia Gandhi's foreign birth, he created the Nationalist Congress Party with two other powerful allies. He has been a behind-the-scenes operator in many of India's biggest political events, and from his base of power in Maharashtra, he has become a politician both to woo to a coalition and to reward with plum cabinet posts.