The youngest person to become the country’s president is a rising star, and the biggest hurdle to the ruling party has been overcoming a crippling economic recession.
In an election that promises to be a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political survival, he faces a long road to power, with many Indians hoping to see him defeated.
Yet his popularity is not limited to his youth.
India is now a leader in developing and sustaining clean energy, and many expect the country to leapfrog China as the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
But Mr. Modi’s own record is tarnished by scandals, a growing police corruption scandal, and a string of scandals involving party leaders and their business associates.
While the prime minister has faced growing criticism from his own party for some of his policies, he is also under pressure from voters to rein in the economy.
“This is a big election, and it’s going to be very close,” said Sanjiv Nandy, an assistant professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
“If the government doesn’t act fast, the economy is going to take a big hit.”
The government is trying to contain economic damage from the government’s decision to lift the cap on coal imports last year, which helped prop up prices of coal, the main fuel for many businesses.
Coal imports have been falling as India struggles with a slowing economy and growing corruption.
But coal-based industries are expected to contribute more to India’s carbon footprint than any other source, making the country the world leader in emissions.
With a forecast of about 7 million new jobs created by 2020, and an estimated 12 million new households expected to buy a house, the government has sought to bolster the economy by expanding the social welfare programs, including subsidies to those who want to buy solar panels or energy-efficient appliances.
But there are also signs of the government slowing its growth.
In the first quarter of 2019, the country lost nearly one-third of its economic growth due to the collapse in demand from coal-consuming industries.
The new prime minister faces a series of hurdles to enact his plan to revive the economy, including the need to find enough coal to meet domestic demand.
The government’s plan includes raising the cap at which coal imports can rise to $2.5 billion a year.
But the new government has been trying to push the cap back to $3.5-$4 billion.
That could prove a tough sell to the opposition and other groups that argue that coal is a dirty fuel.
“It is a very hard sell for the opposition because coal is not a clean source of energy,” said Vishnu Ramesh, director of the Centre for Policy Research in New York.
The plan is a gamble.
The government has set the cap for a time period of four years, but the last-minute push by the prime minster to raise it to $5 billion may have left it with only a few months to get it up to the cap.
The new government may also have to cut subsidies to businesses that use coal, which critics argue is not enough to curb the pollution.
The election is also expected to be the most watched in the country in years.
The election will be held on December 11.
The ruling party is hoping to take control of the national legislature after elections in several states in January, and could have a stronger hand in the legislative process if the election is called before then.
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