India’s voting process was always likely to see disruption, yet with the death toll already rising to nine, as of Friday morning, it seems the world’s biggest election is at risk of being overshadowed by violent insurgents.
As of the 25th April, five parliamentary soldiers and four polling officers, travelling on buses after conducting balloting in two Indian states, had been killed by rebels.
Much of the violence happened on Thursday when Maoist insurgents blew up a roadside land mine before firing at one of the buses in the Jharkhand state.
Five paramilitary soldiers and three polling officials carrying voting machines were killed in the attack, Gupta said.
Suspected rebels also fatally shot an Indian poll official and wounded four other people in an attack on another bus in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir in the north.
In the highly disputed Himalayan territory, protestors threw rocks at the polling station, whilst shouting ‘Down with India’ at people registering their say.
More than 800million people are able to vote in the world’s second most populous country with the process taking six weeks to undertake before the final results are expected to be heard on 16th May.
Millions have already cast their vote across 11 states, helping to determine 117 parliamentary seats, including Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, all of which are crucial for determining the winner between the governing Congress party and Hindu nationalist opposition.
Early signs suggest the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading the race for the prime ministerial seat with leader, Narendra Modi, coming into the elections with momentum in his favour.
The opposing Congress Party have had a ten year rule in the South Asian country yet their time in charge could soon end if the early indications continue to be true.