HYDERABAD: In a brutal incident that shook the country's conscience in 2019, a woman veterinarian was gang-raped, killed and the body burnt by her four alleged rapists in Telangana, even as police gunned them down inan early morning encounter at the very site where the victim's remains were found.
While the sexual assault and the killing of the woman in November sparked outrage across the country as it reminded citizens of the gory Nirbhaya incident in New Delhi in 2012, the police action against them earned both plaudits and brickbats for the men in khaki.
The year also saw the Federal Front plans of ruling TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao coming a cropper, with the BJP securing a good mandate in the Lok Sabha polls, dashing hopes of the ruling party to stretch its dream electoral run.
The gruesome rape and murder of the 27-year-old woman veterinarian on November 27 led to massive outrage and protests across the country, similar to the Nirbhaya incident in Delhi in 2012, evoking varied public responses from public hanging of the accused to changes in laws to ensure exemplary punishment to the culprits without delay.
Four men, all lorry workers, were arrested for allegedly raping and killing her by smothering her and later burning her body.
In a sensational development that followed days after, all four accused were gunned down by police in an alleged exchange of fire on December six at Chattanpalli, around 50 kms from here, where the charred remains of the veterinarian were found under a culvert.
The accused were taken there to recover the victims phone, wrist-watch and others pertaining to the case.
The alleged encounter prompted a section to describe it as "extra-judicial killing," even as many, including the victim's family, welcomed it.
The Supreme Court-appointed a three-member inquiry commission, headed by former apex court judge V S Sirpurkar to probe the circumstances that led to the alleged encounter.
The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections came as a shock for the ruling TRS.
After its stupendous show in the 2018 Assembly polls where the KCR-led party smooth sailed into power for a second term by winning 88 of the 119 seats, the TRS was widely expected to sweep the Lok Sabha polls this year, but the electorate seemed to have other ideas.
The party managed to win only nine of the total of 17 Lok Sabha segments with the BJP making surprise gains by winning four, riding on a pro-Modi wave.
Particularly, the defeat of Raos daughter and sitting TRS MP K Kavitha in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency came as a huge setback to the TRS.
The election in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency attracted national attention for another reason, with as many as 185 candidates, including 177 farmers, entering the fray.
But TRS was soon back to its winning ways, emerging victorious in all the Zilla Parishad chairman posts in the rural local body polls held subsequently.
It also bagged the Huzurnagar Assembly constituency where the bypoll was held in October after sitting MLA and state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy was elected to the Lok Sabha.
With Chandrasekhar Rao's son K T Rama Rao appointed as TRS working president after the partys return to power in December 2018, the succession plan in the Telangana outfit is clear.
The TRS, which had supported the NDA government on abrogation of Article 370 and other major decisions, opposed and voted against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress suffered a big jolt in 2019 as 12 party MLAs, or two-thirds of the strength, broke ranks and merged with the ruling TRS, reducing the its strength in Assembly to just six from 18.
Consequently, Congress lost the status of the main opposition party in the Assembly.
With its strength depleted, Congress now faces the uphill task of reviving itself in Telangana, which was formed in 2014 during the UPA-II regime.
Telangana's ties with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh improved after Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress stormed to power in that state this year.
This was due to the political bonhomie between Rao and Reddy.
The duo had decided to work together on sharing of river waters and other issues for the benefit of the two states.
The relations between the two states had been strained when N Chandrababu Naid-led TDP was in power in Andhra Pradesh as the two parties are rivals in Telangana.
Telangana witnessed a spate of suicides of Intermediate (XI and XII) students in May, allegedly due to errors in the conduct of examinations.
Employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation struck work for nearly two months, pressing various demands, including merger with state transport department.
In a stand-off where the government refused to blink, the employees called off the stir to facilitate talks with the former, even as Chief Minister Rao allowed them to resume work after 52 days of striking work.