Maoist rebels staged a deadly attack Tuesday on a convoy of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, killing a state party lawmaker and four other people in his vehicle with an improvised explosive device in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police said.
The rebels detonated the device in the Dantewada district — an insurgent stronghold — just two days before a multi-phase general election begins in India, police officer P. Sunder Raj said.
State lawmaker Bhima Mandavi, his driver and three security personnel were killed in the attack, Raj said.
Five soldiers were critically wounded when their escort vehicle was hit by the explosion, India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force said. Reinforcements of paramilitary soldiers were rushed to the area.
India's autonomous Election Commission said voting in the area will be held as scheduled on Thursday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
The rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting the government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers, the poor and indigenous communities.
They claim to have thousands of fighters and control vast swaths of territory in several Indian states.