BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 10:28 GMT
India votes: Parties and personalities
No one party appears able to attract a majority of voters
A bewildering number of parties are jostling for power in India's 2004 general elections.

Some try to hold sway throughout the country's vast land mass. Others concentrate their efforts in specific areas.

On one level the election can be seen as a slugging match between two big national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the opposition Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi.

But it would be extraordinary if either of these parties won an overall majority.

India now appears to have entered an era of coalitions, where no single party can dominate.

So both Mr Vajpayee and Mrs Gandhi have to woo powerful parties whose leaders are themselves household names throughout the country.

Click on the links on the right for a guide to the key parties and the key players.

India votes 2004: Full in-depth coverage here


Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Atal Behari Vajpayee
India's charismatic coalition builder


File photo of Sonia Gandhi, September 2008 Sonia Gandhi
The enigmatic Italian-born Congress leader




The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific