India's government has called the what is set to be world's largest ever election, with 814M people registered to vote. A nine-stage process is due to start on April 7 and the results are scheduled for May 16.
The favorite to gain the most seats in parliament is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi, who has the backing of big business and has built up support amongst the middle classes. He touts a strong economic record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, and has pledged job creation, efficient government, and to make trade a focus of foreign policy.
However, the BJP is not expected to win a majority in parliament, which could make enacting reform tricky.
Modi is up against the ruling center-left Congress Party headed by Rahul Gandhi of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
Companies have delayed investments until after the election, and while this might slow the economy before the ballot, as HSBC says, "pent-up demand is set to be released after the elections are over."
The Sensex is +0.3%.