Year in Review: 10 events that changed India's political discourse in 2019

On February 26, India woke up to the news of Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossing the Line of Control in Kashmir and dropping bombs near a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan. This was in retaliation of the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama district, allegedly by Pakistan-trained terrorists. 

Meanwhile, electorally, the year proved a good one for Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which won re-election with a bigger mandate than the first time around in 2014. The BJP won 303 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, and this was the first time in three decades that a single party had returned to power with a majority.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka fell mid-term, as 16 MLAs tendered their resignations and joined the BJP. The Speaker declined to accept the resignations, and a high-octane drama involving accusations of bribery, blackmail, sequestering of MLAs in a resort, and a Supreme Court challenge, followed.

While the rest of the year brought some personal glory for the likes of Uddhav Thackeray, it was mostly disappointing for Rahul Gandhi, who stepped down as the president of the Congress party in the wake of its poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections.

India retaliates in wee hours

1 / 10
Indian warplanes crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir and dropped bombs near a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in retaliation for Pak-trained terrorists killing Indian security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Pakistan retaliated the next day, shooting down and capturing the fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman (extreme right). He was released after 60 hours in captivity.

Army bomb experts said if the Indian Air Force (IAF) had used SPICE 2000 precision-guided bombs to strike the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp in Balakot, Pakistan, on February 26, they would have utterly demolished any regular brick-and-mortar buildings they hit. The IAF has insisted it hit its target. Read more    

Modi storms back to power

2 / 10
Defying predictions of a reduced majority Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party wins re-election with a landslide 303 seats, the first leader since 1971 to win a party majority in back-to-back elections. The Congress tally declined even further.


The BJP has won 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, securing an absolute majority in the 543-member Lok Sabha. Read more

ALSO READ: Year in Review: Top 6 landmark judgments delivered by Supreme Court in 2019


Rahul Gandhi takes moral responsibilty of LS defeat

3 / 10
Rahul Gandhi steps down as president of the Congress party taking responsibility for the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections. His mother Sonia Gandhi takes charge as interim president while the party searches for a replacement — which it is yet to find.


Asserting that he is no longer the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi said in a letter that it had been an honour to serve the party whose values and ideals have served as the "lifeblood of this beautiful nation". As president of the Congress, he said he is responsible for the loss of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Read more


Arun Jaitley passes away

4 / 10
Arun Jaitley, influential finance minister in Narendra Modi’s first term and confidant of the PM, dies after a long illness


Arun Jaitley, former finance minister, key troubleshooter of the Narendra Modi government and the liberal face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was cremated in the national Capital with full state honours on Sunday afternoon. His son Rohan performed the last rites at the Nigambodh Ghat. Read more

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Centre scraps J&K special status

5 / 10
Article 370, which gave Jammu & Kashmir special status under the Constitution, is read down in controversial circumstances. Home Minister Amit Shah announces that the state would be split into two Union Territories. The state has been under lock-down with hundreds of protestors arrested. Habeus corpus has been effectively suspended and state leaders have been under house arrest ever since.


The Narendra Modi government on Monday moved to scrap provisions under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the Union of India. Read more


Maharashtra sees first CM from Thackeray clan

6 / 10
Assembly elections in Maharashtra saw BJP emerge the single largest party but without a majority, which resulted in behind-the-scenes jockeying, with Sharad Pawar’s NCP proving the kingmaker. With the BJP unable to come to an agreement with its pre-poll ally Shiv Sena, an alliance between the Sena, NCP and Congress was expected to take charge with Pawar’s nephew Ajit as chief minister. In an overnight shocker that stretched the constitutional proprieties, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister with Ajit Pawar as his deputy. After hours of frantic negotiation that involved floor-crossings by multiple NCP MLAs, Fadnavis resigned before a floor test and the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition took charge with Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister.


In Maharashtra, the BJP had contested 164 seats, along with some smaller parties, while ally Shiv Sena contested 124 seat of the total 288 seats. With the BJP, which was leading in 105 seats, falling way short of the halfway mark of 144, the Sena, leading on 56 seats, flexed muscles. Its chief, Uddhav Thackeray reminded the BJP of promises not fulfilled. Read more


Manohar Lal Khattar returns to power in Haryana

7 / 10
Assembly elections in Haryana yielded a significantly reduced majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which formed the government with a post-poll alliance with a local party founded by Devi Lal’s grandson, and seven independents.


The results of the Assembly polls in Haryana belied expectations of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweep. Read more

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New Union Territories see new Lt Governors

8 / 10
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh become Union Territories. G C Murmu (inset), a former principal secretary to Narendra Modi when he was chief minister, was appointed J&K’s first Lieutenant Governor. c (left), a former defence secretary, was appointed Ladakh’s first Lieutenant Governor.


IAS officers Girish Chandra Murmu and R K Mathur have been appointed the new Lt Governors of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh respectively. Read more


Congress- JDS govt falls in Karnataka

9 / 10
The United Progressive Alliance government in Karnataka fell after 16 MLAs submitted their resignations and joined the BJP. The Speaker declined to accept the resignations and subsequent drama involved accusations of bribery, blackmail, the sequestering the MLAs in a resort and a Supreme Court challenge. After the incumbent government lost a floor test, the BJP took charge. In December by-elections, 12 of the defectors won their seats.


For 76-year-old B S Yediyurappa, the recent by-elections in Karnataka came as a massive boost as it helped shore up his government — the second time he has had to reach a majority in this manner..  Read more


JMM-Congress+ alliance shocks BJP

10 / 10
After a prolonged five-phase Assembly election in the Naxal-hit state of Jharkhand,the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha -led alliance registered a landslide victory bagging 47 of the 81 seats. Chief Minister-designate Hemant Soren with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the picture.


Jharkhand on Monday became the seventh state since the Karnataka Assembly polls in May 2018 where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has either failed to secure a majority or lost power, indicating its weakening grasp over the states even as it resoundingly won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Read more


Read our full coverage on Year Ender 2019

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