Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai are among over 50 global leaders, business chiefs and pop icons named as contenders by Time magazine for its annual Person of the Year honor.
The Time Person of the Year 2015 will be announced next month. The news weekly said the title would be bestowed on the person who “most influenced the news this year for better or worse.”
Time said Modi has “encouraged foreign direct investment in India and is trying to modernize the world’s largest democracy,” but added that the Indian leader has also “faced controversy over what some see as rightwing extremism.”
Modi was a contender for the honor last year also. While he was not chosen for the award by Time’s editors, he was named winner of the readers’ poll, securing more than 16 percent of about 5 million votes cast.
On Ambani, Time said the richest person in India is the chairman of Reliance Industries, “which owns everything from telecom properties to the world’s largest crude oil refinery.”
Among the contenders is Pichai. “After 11 years at Google, most recently as cofounder Larry Page’s right hand, Pichai assumed the tech giant’s top job,” Time said. In a separate “face-off” poll, Modi has been pitted against Jinping, while Ambani has been pitted against Nigerian President Muhammudu Buhari.
Time asked its readers to vote for the individual who they think should get the title of Person of the Year. The winner of the readers’ choice poll will be announced next month before Time’s editors choose the individual from the 58 candidates. Modi has so far got 1.3 percent of the votes, the same as Pichai and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ambani has garnered a mere 0.2 percent of the votes cast.
Other candidates in the fray include U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Chinese President Xi Jinping, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and East and West Africa, Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, Tesla head Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook and last year’s winner Pope Francis. Time said 2015 is filled with newsmakers who have defined the year.