As the year 2009 fades away living behind memories of events that shaped history, India TV brings to you five big events that shook India and the world.
Obama Becomes First African-American President Of USA
‘Change has come to America', said the 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois who shattered more than 200 years of history by winning election as the first African-American president of the United States.
A crowd of nearly a quarter-million jammed Grant Park and the surrounding area in Chicago, where Barack Obama addressed the nation for the first time as its president-elect at midnight. Hundreds of thousands more — Mayor Richard Daley said he would not be surprised if a million Chicagoans jammed the streets — watched on a large television screen outside the park.
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama declared.
“Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states,” he said. “We have been and always will be the United States of America.
“It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” he said to a long roar. Obama beat McCain by 52 percent to 46 percent, and he could realistically claim a mandate with nearly two-thirds of the Electoral College.
Towards the end of the year, Obama's ratings were slipping as he was caught in a bind over healthcare and troops withdrawal issues.
LTTE Demolished, Prabhakaran Killed
Sri Lanka declared total victory on May 18 in the war against one of the world's most intractable insurgents, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (which maintained 7000 strong army in full war gears including fighter planes and a formidable Navy) and took full control of the country after 26 years. The war took an estimated 70,000 lives.
LTTE started insurgency in 1983 and gradually developed into almost an army, carving out a separate independent Tamil state in the northern part of Sri Lanka. All these years LTTE fought the Sri Lankan army successfully and even beat back the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the late eighties.
At the height of insurgency, the LTTE even assassinated India's former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 as a revenge for sending IPKF. The end of LTTE and death of its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, 55, established once again the rule of law in Sri Lanka, though the issue of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils living in ghetto-like conditions in camps is yet to be solved. Towards the end of the year, the hero of Sri Lankan army, former Army chief Gen Sarath Fonseca emerged as the opposition candidate to challenge President Mahinda Rajapakse in the presidential elections.
Congress Wins, Singh Remains King
The Congress overcame challenges from Left, BJP, Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad, to romp home to victory in the Lok Sabha elections in May and with this, 76-year-old Manmohan Singh was sworn in for another five-year term as India's Prime Minister.
DMK and Trinamool Congress emerged as the major partners of Congress in UPA-II. Led by Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress trounced the Communists in West Bengal, while DMK checkmated Jayalalithaa's aspirations in Tamil Nadu. Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal(United) in Bihar and Mayawati's BSP in UP survived the UPA onslaught.
Towards the end of the year, Manmohan Singh's government was tackling burning issues like price rise and demands for new states. Sonia Gandhi remained as the main arbiter in the UPA, even as her son Rahul Gandhi reached out to different sections of society like the youth and Dalits to bring broad base support for the Congress.
Change Of Guard In BJP
It was a year gone wrong for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Projecting L K Advani as a strong Prime Ministerial candidate, the party carried out a hyper campaign during the Lok Sabha elections to come back to power, but its aspirations were dented by ill-advised actions by party leader Varun Gandhi which alienated minorities in general.
The party failed at the hustings and then the daggers were out. Jaswant Singh was expelled for writing a book praising Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Vasundhara Raje had to quit her post of leader of opposition in Rajasthan.
Towards the end of the year, Advani and Rajnath Singh were eased out from their respective posts and the RSS installed Nitin Gadkari as party chief. Sushma Swaraj took over from Advani as leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, with rival Arun Jatiley holding fort as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha.
People Seek Justice For Ruchika
The past caught up with the unflappable former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore as he was handed a six month jail sentence and a fine for molesting tennis player Ruchika Girhotra in Chandigarh 18 years ago.
This was not enough, said social organizations, who clamoured for harsher sentence against Rathore. It transpired that the Haryana police in its eagerness to shield its chief slapped 11 false cases on Ruchika's brother Ashu leading to Ruchika's suicide.
Not only this, the state government recommended Rathore's name for President's Police Medal for distinguished service.
Bowing to media and social pressures, the Haryana government has decided to reopen the probe against Girhotra and harsher actions are being planned.