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No first lady for India as bachelors battle for prime minister's job

Published on Apr 1, 2014 8:36 PM
In this combination of file photographs created on March 5, 2014, India's Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi (L) gestures as he delivers a speech during the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting in New Delhi on January 17, 2014 and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi (R) speaks during the party's national council meeting at Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi on January 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - In marriage-obsessed India where people are expected to wed young and produce progeny soon after, two single men are battling it out on the election trail for the prime minister's job.

On one side is fiery frontrunner Narendra Modi, 63, a white-bearded Hindu nationalist who likes to be seen as a modern-day "monk with a mission", according to biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.

On the other is Rahul Gandhi, 43, the scion of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty who tops eligible bachelor lists and is known as the "reluctant prince" for his diffidence about assuming his family inheritance as leader of the ruling Congress party.

Mr Modi, the hawkish conservative candidate for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, tipped to oust the scandal-tainted Congress in the polls starting April 7, reportedly walked away from a marriage arranged when he was a child.

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