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Sonia Gandhi

The widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi's native Italian name is Edvige Antonia Albina Màino, and is the President of the Indian National Congress. She is currently the chairperson of the UPA. She refused to be the PM in 2003 citing her “inner voice” and instead chose Manmohan Singh.

Narendra Modi

The 16th Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a historic win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. A Chief Minister for 12 years, Modi got his first exposure to politics when he became a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and then moved onto becoming the protege of LK Advani. He is a Hindu Nationalist and has been credited with the economic growth of Gujarat, though the stain of the 2002 Gujarat riots continues to remain a sticky issue for him.

Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar is the leader of the National Congress Party which he founded in 1999, after he split away from the Indian National Congress. He is currently the Union Minister of Agriculture. He was the Chairman of Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) from 2005-08. He became the president of the International Cricket Council in 2010. He contests from Madha in Maharashtra.

Mayawati

Mayawati served as the Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh for four terms and is the current leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), she is a force to be reckoned with in politics. The aim of the BSP is to improve the lives of the lowest strata in Indian society- the SCs, Sts, OBCs, the Dalits and the religious minorities. She became the first female Dalit CM in India and is greatly admired by many as a Dalit icon. Mayawati has been praised and criticised for her birthday parties and fundraising activities amongst other things. She is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi

The scion of the Gandhi-Nehru family and the son of Sonia Gandhi and the late Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi is the Vice-President of the Indian National Congress (INC) and is their main spokesperson for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The 43 year old leader is often considered as the youth icon of Congress, especially after his entrance into politics in 2004, where he contested from Amethi and became a Member of Parliament.

Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar is the current Chief Minister of Bihar since 2005, prior to this he was the Union Minister of Railways in the NDA government.The leader of the Janata Dal (United), he reacted furiously to the announcement of Narendra Modi as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and ended the 17 year alliance between the JD(U) and BJP over this issue.

Arvind Kejriwal

A new entrant in politics, Arvind Kejriwal founded of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2011 and served as the Chief Minister of Delhi from December 28, 2013 to February 14, 2014. He is an IIT-Kharagpur graduate who worked for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as a Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax department. He helped in drafting the Jan Lokpal Bill along with Anna Hazare, and hopes to remove corruption entirely from the country if elected. He has built a campaign against the Congress and the BJP, citing them both to be inflected with corruption from the inside. His tirade against Narendra Modi and the FIRs he has filed against Mukesh Ambani and many others, along with his addressal of issues such as the gas price hike have made him immensely popular and well-known in a short period of time.

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Lalu Prasad Yadav served as the Minister of Railways from 2004-09 and was Chief Minister of Bihar from 1990-97. He is the President of the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD). He was convicted in the Fodder scam which led to his ouster as a Member of Parliament in 2013.

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh is the incumbent Prime Minister. As finance minister in 1991, he introduced the new economic policy that allowed the growth of privatised industries, opened up the Indian market and attracted large amounts of foreign capital.

Mulayam Singh Yadav

Mulayam Singh Yadav belongs to the Samajwadi Party. He has had three stints as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Currently, he serves in the Lok Sabha representative for the constituency of Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh. He is father of the current CM of UP, Akhilesh Yadav.

Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley is a member of the BJP contesting from Amritsar for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He had held high-profile positions in the NDA government (1998-2004), when he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Commerce and Industry and Law and Justice. Jaitley has been a part of politics from his college days, and is now the strategic planner for the BJP, a job that reflects his legal prowess and his track record of winning assembly elections. Jaitley is also the General Secretary of BJP, along with being a highly regarded spokesperson.

Prakash Karat

Prakash Karat is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Karat became active in politics when he was in Edinburgh, pursuing his Masters degree in Politics. Upon his return, he joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University and became a part of the CPI(M) while there. He is on the editorial team of 'The Marxist' and has also written and published five books.

Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray: Uddhav Thackeray was born in a strong political family to Hindu nationalist Bal Thackeray, who founded the right-wing Shiv Sena, a Marathi ethnocentric political party. He was made the Pramukh (Chief) of Shiv Sena in 2004 by his father. Along with helping in election campaigning, he worked for the Shiv Sena newsletter called 'Saamna' which he is currently the editor-in-chief of.

Sushma Swaraj

A former advocate for the Supreme Court of India, Sushma Swaraj is a BJP member who is the Leader of the Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha. She started her political career at the age of 25, when she became the youngest Cabinet Minister in Haryana. It was Swaraj who declared Film as an industry and opened the possibility of bank finance to this industry when she was the Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting in 1998. She is contesting from Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Raj Thackeray

Raj Thackeray was a part of the Shiv Sena up until 2006, when due to conflicts with his cousin Uddhav, Raj Thackeray broke away from this right-wing party to form one of his own, know as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Raj is considered by many Maharashtrians as the true heir to the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray.

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee popularly know as the “didi’ is the leader of the All India Trinamool Congress party and the 11th Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2011 and claimed the title of being the first woman to hold the post of Union Minister of Railways in 2004. A central figure in the Nandigram agitation, she protested vociferously against the Communist Party India (Marxist) and the industrialization of the area.

Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik is the current Chief Minister of Odisha and has held this post for the last three consectuive terms. Patnaik is known as 'Mr Clean' for his attempts to bring transparency into his government. He is the founder and leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which he brought into being in 1998. He was felicitated by the UN for the effort he undertook to evacuate around a million people before cyclone Phailin hit Odisha's coast in October 2013.

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav is the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the youngest politician to the hold this position in India. Hailing from the Samajwadi Party (SP), he is the son of the former CM of UP Mulayam Singh Yadav. Akhilesh has faced severe criticism from various political opponents and the Indian media in general for poor response to the Muzaffarnagar riots.