A bewildering number of parties are jostling for power in India's 2004 general elections.
No one party appears able to attract a majority of voters
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.