Indian politicians who were in the limelight in 2009:
Singh: An unassuming leader who unleashed India's private
enterprise through liberalisation almost two decades ago, Manmohan
Singh enjoys the implicit trust of the middle class. As the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) learnt to its dismay in the Lok Sabha
election, its attacks on him backfired. He is the only prime
minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to return to office after a full
Advani: He lost his best chance to be the prime minister and
later gave up his post as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
Credited with scripting the party's rise electorally from the
mid-1980s, his political future looks bleak.
The power behind the throne, Sonia Gandhi was the hero of the
victory in the Lok Sabha election. Her focus on rural areas through
targeted welfare schemes has paid rich
She is a votary of consensual decisions.
Gandhi: The heir-apparent in the Congress, Rahul Gandhi ensured
that the party gave more ticket to the youth in the Lok Sabha
election. He emerged a key strategist. Rahul has a cadre of Congress
workers who, he hopes, are creating political goodwill through
social work. His next big test will be the 2012 assembly polls in
Banerjee: The mercurial and emotive leader, the railway minister
and Trinamool Congress leader handed
entrenched Left Front a drubbing in the Lok Sabha election. The
Congress, her ally, has already declared her a chief ministerial
candidate for the 2011 assembly election.
Karat: A Stalinist, he oversaw the worst Lok Sabha defeat of the
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) after withdrawing support
to the Manmohan Singh government. Karat now has the tough task of
preventing the party's citadel in West Bengal from crumbling.
Rajasekhar Reddy: A mass leader, former Andhra Pradesh chief
minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy delivered on his promise to Sonia
Gandhi to win over 30 Lok Sabha seats from the state. He won the
state for the Congress twice and emerged as a powerful satrap. His
death in a helicopter crash in September has led to a leadership
Chandrasekhara Rao: He achieved from an 11-day fast what he
could not in years of struggle. The hunger strike by the Telangana
Rashtra Samiti chief foxed the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh
till the central government announced it was ready for a separate
Telangana state. That stoked violent anti-Telangana protests
elsewhere in the state and similar "we want separate state" demands
in other parts of the country.
Singh: He stirred a hornet's nest in the BJP with his book on
Mohammad Ali Jinnah and was expelled from the party. Jaswant Singh's
outbursts brought to the fore tensions in the BJP. He is one leader
pitching for the creation of two new states - Maru Pradesh in his
native Rajasthan and Gorkhaland in Darjeeling hills.
Thackeray: In its first major electoral outing, Raj Thackeray's
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) showed it was here to stay. The MNS
played the son-of-the-soil card aggressively and hurt the BJP-Shiv
Sena chances on many seats in the Lok Sabha battle. It won 13
assembly seats. Raj is a serious contender for Shiv Sena chief Bal