Profile: Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, is seen as India's most divisive politician - loved and loathed in equal measure.
He was chief minister of the state during the 2002 religious riots when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
Mr Modi was accused of doing little to stop the riots and in subsequent years the US denied him visas and the UK cut off all ties with him.
But a decade later, the controversial politician is being reintegrated into the political mainstream.
The British high commission in Delhi has held its first meeting with him, amid speculation he may be a serious candidate for prime minister if his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins a majority in the 2014 election.
Mr Modi has denied he has his sights set on the top job, instead saying that he is getting ready to fight another assembly election in December in Gujarat.
He has ruled the state since October 2001, but analysts say another victory would make him appear virtually invincible, strengthening his political legitimacy - and open the way for him to take on a bigger role in Delhi.
A brilliant speaker, the Hindu hardline party's poster boy has already addressed dozens of rallies in the run-up to the elections.
Mr Modi is often called the BJP's brightest star, and his supporters have already begun a "Modi-for-PM" campaign.
Many Indians, however, say they cannot accept Mr Modi as prime minister because of his alleged role in the riots.
Although he has escaped censure in the Gujarat riots so far, his close aide, Maya Kodnani, was recently convicted and sent to jail for 28 years.
Ms Kodnani was not a minister at the time of the riots, but was appointed junior minister for women and child development by Mr Modi in 2007.
His critics have accused him of "rewarding her with the ministership" for her role in the riots.Unapologetic
Mr Modi may polarise public opinion in India and abroad, but he has also been credited for bringing prosperity and development to Gujarat and enjoys support from some of India's top industrialists.
The state's economy has been growing steadily, and Mr Modi's image is that of a clean and efficient administrator who is corruption-free.
As a result, he has been re-elected twice as the state's chief minister.
When he was first re-elected in December 2002, a few months after the riots, his biggest gains were in the areas of intercommunal violence; he campaigned openly on a platform of hardline Hinduism.
But in the elections held in 2007, he talked mostly about the growth of Gujarat.
While those who benefited during his time as chief minister applauded his re-election, for the victims of the 2002 riots, his victory was just one more symbol of injustice.
He has never expressed any remorse or offered any apologies for the riots, and many Muslims displaced by the violence continue to live in ghettos near Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city and commercial capital.RSS support
Analysts say the reason the chief minister remains relatively unscathed is the strong support he enjoys among senior leaders in the right-wing Hindu organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The RSS, founded in the 1920s with a clear objective to make India a Hindu nation, functions as an ideological fountainhead to a host of hardline Hindu groups - including Mr Modi's BJP with which it has close ties.
The RSS has a particularly strong base in Gujarat, and Mr Modi's ties to it were seen as a strength the organisation could tap into when he joined the state unit of the BJP in the 1980s.
Mr Modi has a formidable reputation as a party organiser, along with an ability for secrecy, which comes from years of training as an RSS "pracharak" or propagandist, analysts say.
He got his big break in the public arena when his predecessor in the state was forced to step down in the fallout from the earthquake in January 2001 that killed nearly 20,000 people.
Critics say that even if his BJP support withers, as long as Mr Modi holds the backing of the RSS, he will be hard to prise from office.