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India opposition could clinch election win: opinion polls

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi and its allies are set to emerge as the biggest group in an election beginning on Monday, heralding the end of a 10-year reign of the ruling party, two opinion polls showed. In the last major poll, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are forecast to win 38 percent of votes, news channel CNN-IBN and Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies said.

India's Hindu nationalists tipped to win as poll looms

Indian politicians hit the campaign trail for a final day Saturday before the start of a marathon nine-phase election, expected to vault the right-wing Hindu nationalist opposition to power. Newspapers carried full front-page ads with a photograph of Narendra Modi, the fiery prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) carrying the party's slogan: "Time for a Change, Time for Modi."

US lawmakers press India on minorities before vote

Several US lawmakers voiced concern Friday for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections. With polls starting Monday in the world's largest democracy, several activists testifying before the US Congress' human rights commission expressed fear for the treatment of Muslims and Christians if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becomes the next prime minister, as surveys predict.

Man and myth collide as India's Modi eyes final ascent to power

By Sanjeev Miglani VADNAGAR, India (Reuters) - Narendra Modi spent his childhood in a modest three-room dwelling made of mud and brick nestled in a narrow, crowded lane in the western Indian town of Vadnagar. The tea stall his father ran with the help of his sons is just as it was then, a small shed of patched blue-grey tin on the platform of the ramshackle railway station nearby.

India's Modi: abrasive Hindu nationalist tipped to be PM

Few deny that Narendra Modi, the son of a tea seller tipped to be India's next prime minister, has overcome formidable obstacles. Almost everything else about him is bitterly contested. The rise of one of India's most polarising figures even split his own party, where worries about his controversial past and abrasive personality meant he had to overcome heavy internal dissent. The 63-year-old son of low-caste parents from western Gujarat state is seen as a hardliner within the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist opposition last in power 1999-2004.

India's princeling Rahul Gandhi seeks 'poison' of power

He has never held public office, has likened power to "poison" and seen his father and grandmother assassinated by extremists. Now Rahul Gandhi wants to become India's prime minister. If polls are to believed, the 43-year-old is about to lead his Congress party to a crushing defeat when India holds elections from April 7. In public, the scion of India's most famous dynasty refuses to contemplate defeat at the hands of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its right-wing leader, Narendra Modi.

India set to veer right as world's biggest polls begin

Indian voters, worried about jobs and angry about corruption, look set to turf out the ruling Congress party in the world's biggest election starting Monday in favour of the opposition Hindu nationalists under hardliner Narendra Modi. After 10 years of leftist rule by Congress and the Gandhi family dynasty, surveys show the young and increasingly aspirational electorate yearning for change, frustrated about the country's direction and irked by higher food prices.

India's Modi says animal slaughter will 'ruin' nation

Indian election frontrunner Narendra Modi, the vegetarian Hindu nationalist tipped to be the next prime minister, warned Thursday the country's expanding meat industry will lead to its "ruin". With the campaign heading into its final days before the marathon nine-stage vote begins Monday, Modi assailed the meat industry and accused the Congress-led government of pursuing a "pink revolution", referring to the colour of meat. "The pink revolution is a programme to ruin the country," Modi told his supporters at a rally in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Post-election showdown looms for India's central bank chief

By Manoj Kumar NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's high-profile central bank governor is likely to come under political pressure to retreat from his hawkish stance on inflation if opposition leader Narendra Modi wins power in the country's general election. Strategists in Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), confident that his jobs-first policy pitch will secure a strong voter mandate, suggest that they would prefer to have one of their own at the helm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

India's opposition lacks manifesto four days from polling

India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), frontrunner to form the next government, faced criticism Thursday for failing to release its manifesto just days before polls open. Reports earlier this week claimed the Hindu nationalists' programme would be unveiled on Thursday, but a party source told AFP it was now highly unlikely to be before Saturday -- two days before the first voters cast their ballots.
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