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The Indian politicians who were in the limelight in 2009


Wednesday, December 30, 2009 10:09:53 PM, IANS

2009: A year of commissions, little actions for Indian Muslims: As the country prepared for the polls in early 2009, the ruling alliance had little chance of getting the majority to form the .... Read Full

Seminal changes in Indian politics in 2009

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New Delhi: The Indian politicians who were in the limelight in 2009:


Manmohan 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 five-year term.


L.K. 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.


Sonia Gandhi: The power behind the throne, Sonia Gandhi was the hero of the Congress victory in the Lok Sabha election. Her focus on rural areas through targeted welfare schemes has paid rich dividends. She is a votary of consensual decisions.


Rahul 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 Uttar Pradesh.


Mamata Banerjee: The mercurial and emotive leader, the railway minister and Trinamool Congress leader handed West Bengal's 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.


Prakash 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.


Y.S. 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 crisis.


K. 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.


Jaswant 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.


Raj 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 Thackeray's legacy.







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