At least seven people were killed and dozens more injured in India after clashes over local polls in West Bengal, a state notorious for political violence during election campaigns, AFP reported. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has in recent years worked hard to gain a toehold in West Bengal – ruled by a Communist party for much of its history – to expand its reach beyond its Hindi-speaking northern heartlands. Voters are currently casting their ballots in a fierce contest to elect municipal leaders, with more than 200,000 candidates across the state of 104 million people. “Seven people have been killed and dozens wounded in poll-related violence in different villages across the state,” Jawed Shamim, a senior officer in West Bengal’s police force, said.
Another police official, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said five of the dead were from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress party. The other two were affiliated with the BJP and West Bengal’s Communist party of India (Marxist).