A while ago, I had started setting out the background for the upcoming general election in India (see posts 1 and 2). Inaugurations, back taxes, stimuli, etc., distracted me, but now the election has been scheduled, so I'll try to get back on track with that subject.
How do they deal with being the world's largest democracy? One way is that they don't hold the election in every area on the same day. This New York Times report describes India's plan to hold the election over a period of four weeks, starting April 16. I don't know of any other country that schedules a general election that way, although it's somewhat similar to the U.S. parties' method of nominating presidential candidates.
The Times article mentions the many small parties which will form a coalition either with one of the two largest parties, or perhaps with each other, putting the Congress and Bharatiya Janata parties out of power.
In future posts, I will describe how the party structure evolved as it has. Also, I plan to discuss how India, even though it long ago divorced itself from the British monarchy, has been dominated by one family.