India holds a national election staggered over five weeks

Just bringing 815 m eligible voters to polling booths across vast India is a vast logistical enterprise which necessitates spreading the vote from April 7 to May 12 and employs 11 million polling and security personnel. More than 100 million new voters are taking part. The election is being fought between the center-left, secular Congress Party (INC) candidate Rahul Gandhi, 43, grandson of India’s founder whose grandfather and mother were also prime ministers, and center-right Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Marenda Modi, 63, the popular autocratic Chief Minister of Gujarat state. Since 1989, neither has gained a majority and Indian governments have been coalitions. The BJP now wants its turn at the helm after the INC, whose rule has been bedeviled by corruption and a slowdown in India’s galloping growth.

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