Vol. 5 Num 689 Mon. May 08, 2006  

Millions to vote in last leg of Indian state polls

Millions are set to vote today in the final phase of elections to five state assemblies, which are seen as a referendum on the federal government as it approaches two years in power.

The Marxist bastion of West Bengal and the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry go to the polls Monday while voting in northeastern Assam and the southern state of Kerala has been completed.

Results for all five states will be announced on May 11.

In West Bengal, security has been stepped up after complaints by opposition parties of fraud and intimidation during four previous stages of the staggered elections.

"For tomorrow's vote, federal paramilitary forces will be deployed in all 49 constituencies going to the polls," said Raj Kanojia, state police chief.

More than eight million people are eligible to vote for 306 candidates in the state, where a communist government has been in power since 1977.