Dates Announced for Indian Elections
March 5, 2014
India has announced dates for its national elections.
Voters in the world's largest democracy will vote for candidates for the 543-member parliament in nine phases from April 7 to May 12. Four days of vote-counting later, elections officials will announce results.
Turnout is expected to be high. About 814 million adults are eligible to vote in India, an increase of 100 million over the same figure available for the previous national election, which took place in 2009.
Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rahul Gandhi, the latest in a line of Gandhis who have run for their country's top job, are the top two candidates. Current opinion polls show Modi with a wide lead.
India is currently run by a coalition led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi's mother. All belong to the Congress Party.
No matter which of the top two candidates wins, he is expected to have to build another coalition. No major party has been in charge of India's government since 1989.
Racial tensions inside India continue to be a concern for many political observers, as do tensions with neighboring Pakistan. Another challenge for the new political leader will be an economy that has seen small growth in recent years.