Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 16:58 UK

In pictures: India election campaign

Masks of prominent Indian politicians

Hundreds of millions of voters are expected to cast their ballots when India holds general elections over April and May. Campaigning is in full swing in the run-up to the first phase on 16 April.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi campaigning in Uttar Pradesh

The ruling Congress party campaign is being led by party chief Sonia Gandhi (right) and her son, Rahul Gandhi. India's Grand Old Party continues to depend on the Gandhi dynasty to woo voters.

Mayawati at an election rally

Mayawati, the leader of India's 160 million Dalits (formerly untouchables), is expected to win the key state of Uttar Pradesh. She is seeking pan-Indian appeal and reaching out to upper castes.

BJP leaders at an election rally

The BJP, led by its prime ministerial candidate LK Advani (centre), accuses Congress of being soft on terror, and promises tougher laws and lower interest rates and taxes.

Ram Bilas Paswan and Laloo Prasad Yadav at an election rally

Regional leaders are forging alliances to take on mainstream parties. Once-arch rivals, federal ministers Ram Bilas Paswan (left) and Laloo Yadav have joined hands to take on a common rival in Bihar.

Communist party candidate campaigning in West Bengal

The Communists - estranged allies of Congress - are concentrating on their strongholds in West Bengal and Kerala. This time, they have vowed to support a 'Third Front' of mainly regional parties.

Bolywood star Hema Malini campaigning

As in previous elections, Bollywood stars are campaigning for various parties. Hema Malini, once known as the 'dream girl' of Bollywood, is backing the BJP.

Navjot Singh Siddhu campaigning

Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu is among the celebrities contesting elections for the BJP. Indians are obsessed with films and cricket.

Sanjay Dutt campaigning in Lucknow

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, is barred from standing in Uttar Pradesh but he is still campaigning for the Samajwadi Party which he recently joined.

Congress party supporters hold flags with the election symbol of their party during an election campaign rally in Davangere, about 270 kilometers (167 miles) north of Bangalore, India, Monday, March 23, 2009.

Party symbols and banners feature prominently at the election rallies. Here Congress supporters hold flags at a rally in Karnataka state.

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