International desk – A Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker and four others were killed in an attack carried out allegedly by Maoist guerrillas in Dantewada region of Chhattisgarh, Indian media reported quoting police on Tuesday.
The attack was carried out at a time when India was poised to go for stagger national election scheduled from Thursday.
BJP lawmaker Bhima Mandavi, 40, was among the dead as the assailants set off a blast through an Improvised Explosive Device at Shyamagiri hills – nearly 350 km from state capital Raipur.
Voting in the Maoist-infested Bastar area was scheduled in the first phase of national elections.
NDTV television reported that the Maoists have warned the local people not to vote in the election – posters carrying their message dot the area. In view of the security issue, the lawmaker was advised against campaigning, but he wished to get his message across to the people.
The blast had ripped apart a bullet-proof vehicle in which the lawmaker was travelling. The mangled pieces can be seen lying some distance from a crater on the road, reported the broadcaster.
Five people died instantly — most of them suspected to be security personnel accompanying the lawmaker.
People tried to come out of other cars in the convoy, but the Maoists, who were hiding nearby, fired their guns.
The Central Reserve Police Force has rushed reinforcements in the area. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has called for a high-level meeting following the attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet strongly condemned the attack. “My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain,” said Modi in a tweet.
“Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” he added.