- POSTED: 12 Sep 2013 17:56
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Political activity in India has picked up pace in anticipation of the 2014 elections. Curiosity centres on who will be the prime ministerial candidates for the most populous democracy.
NEW DELHI: Political activity in India has picked up pace in anticipation of the 2014 elections which will be the biggest democratic exercise in the world.
Curiosity centres on who will be the prime ministerial candidates for the most populous democracy.
Elections have yet to be announced, but India is already abuzz with political activity ahead of the 2014 polls.
Leaders of major parties are already holding rallies and townhall meetings, and that includes Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Party's chief campaign star and scion of India's most famous political dynasty.
There is speculation that the 43-year-old politician and Member of Parliament from the largest state in India will be his party's candidate for prime minister.
Mr Gandhi, who is the General Secretary of the Congress Party, said: "We have changed the paradigm of development over the last 10 years. Earlier, only development would be talked about. We started talking about rights. Today, what we are doing (is that) we are giving rights."
As for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a consensus seems to have been reached that Narendra Modi will be its prime ministerial candidate in 2014.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological parent body of the BJP and the fountainhead of many Hindu organisations, held long meetings with supporters and naysayers in the BJP, regarding Mr Modi's candidature.
Mr Modi has strong support among the junior ranks in the party, but senior members fear that, being a polarising figure, Mr Modi could lose votes for the BJP due to his strong Hindu leanings.
Those opposed to Mr Modi's candidature are worried about what will happen if the BJP does not get enough seats to form a government on its own.
Should the BJP need to seek out allies, parties with secular leanings will not come on board with Mr Modi as prime minister.
Yet, Mr Modi's election rallies are drawing crowds, which nobody else in the party has been able to match.
Mr Modi said: "The common man is reeling under inflation. The poor are going hungry. Children are quenching their thirst on their own tears. But the federal government in Delhi is busy defining poverty."
Mr Modi is the sitting chief minister of the western India province of Gujarat where he has won elections three times in a row, despite being bogged down by court cases where he is accused of abetting religious riots.
While it is almost certain that the BJP will project Mr Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls, the rival Congress Party has not declared a name so far. In all likelihood, it will not be Dr Manmohan Singh, who is in his 10th year as prime minister.