Two dead in clashes on first day of India election
April 11, 2019 05:30 PM NPT
NEW DELHI, April 11: Clashes between followers of rival parties left at least two dead and several injured on the first day of India's huge election Thursday, media reports said.
Suspected Maoist rebels also triggered blasts in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states in a bid to disrupt voting.
Activists of the Telegu Desam Party and the YSR Congress party, regional groups in central Andhra Pradesh state, fought each other outside a polling station in Tadipatri, Firstpost news website reported.
Online videos showed bloodied and injured supporters of the rival parties. Firstpost said a TSP leader, Bhaskar Reddy, and YSR worker Pulla Reddy died in the clashes.
It added that two party workers were left in critical condition.
The two parties are in contention for 25 parliamentary and 175 Andhra Pradesh state assembly seats being contested on Thursday.
The rebel attacks in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra briefly held up polling at one location but no injuries were reported.
Tensions often erupt during Indian elections, with an electorate of 900 million people and voting spread over nearly six weeks.
Border Security Force troops fired live ammunition in the air after a group tried to vote without the proper documents in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, according to video footage shown by ABP news. No casualties were reported.
Five people were killed this week when a roadside bomb blew up a convoy in a remote area of Chhattisgarh, one of many states where Maoist rebels, who have been fighting the Indian state for decades, are active.
The blast killed a state assembly lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, his driver and three state bodyguards.