Narendra Modi
Time Person of the Year 2016: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi [in picture] is a front-runner, but can he hold on to the lead?Press Information Bureau

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently leading the race to become the Time Person of the Year 2016 with 18 percent of the "yes" votes. He is currently more than 11 percentage points ahead of his closest contenders WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, current US President Barack Obama and US President-elect Donald Trump. 

The Time Person of the Year — called Time Man of the Year till 1999, when it was changed to make it more gender-neutral and inclusive — is an annual tradition of the magazine that started in 1927. Since its inception, the Man or Person of the Year has been not only individuals but also entire groups of people, and even the computer in 1982 and Endangered Earth in 1988.

The current poll that is under way gives the name of 30 people, including Modi, Trump, the Obamas (as individuals Barack and Michelle), Assange, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Surprisingly, strong contestants this time though are Khizr and Ghazala Khan — the parents of a US marine who was killed in the line of duty. Their popularity seems to stem from their appearance in a political rally where they stood up to Trump and his anti-Muslim narrative.

The voting in the poll is expected to continue till December 4. The Time Person of the Year 2016 will be declared on December 7. The official page of the poll can be found HERE, while short descriptions of the people in contention for the title can be found HERE

Can Modi hold on to the lead?

Modi's performance in this year's poll has been unpredictable. Assange had had the initial lead, but the Indian prime minister overtook him about a week ago. Modi soon went on to corner 21 percent of the votes up until a couple of days ago. 

On Tuesday, a Time report had said Modi then had 18 percent of the votes, down from his earlier lead. The report had also quoted the poll's host, Apster, as saying: "Unlike other voters, those who support Modi are particularly likely to select 'no' on other candidates rather than voting affirmatively for multiple choices."

Now, given the short time that is left before the poll closes, it is unlikely that the gap of 11 percentage points between Modi and his closest competitors will be bridged. 

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