General elections in India between Apr. 8 - May 15 - report

A view of the Indian parliament building is seen in New Delhi in this October 2008 file photo. General elections in India will be held sometime between April 8 and May 15, the country's election commissioner was quoted as saying. REUTERS/B Mathur

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - General elections in India will be held sometime between April 8 and May 15, the country’s election commissioner was quoted on Wednesday as saying

But a spokesman of the election office denied any dates had been discussed.

Earlier the Press Trust of India quoted S.Y. Quraishi as saying in London late on Tuesday that the election would be held between April 8 and May 15.

The main contest this year is likely to be between the Congress party, which leads the ruling coalition government, and the opposition Hindu nationalist alliance, headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The election commission had yet to meet to discuss poll dates, the spokesman said.

“Any story quoting the dates has no authenticity,” he said.

The elections follow a string of attacks on Indian cities in 2008, including a three day rampage by Islamist militants on Mumbai which killed 179 people in November.

Security and the growing repercussions of the global financial crisis will likely top the agenda, although local issues and caste identities also traditionally influence voting in India.

India’s economy is expected to grow 7 percent in 2009, compared to around 9 percent in recent years.