Millions of Indians have voted in the next-to-last stage of the country's month-long general election.
Voting in a few areas was marred by violence Thursday.
Police in West
Bengal state say at least two people were killed and several injured
during clashes between members of rival political parties.
In Srinigar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, suspected
militants threw a firebomb at a voting station, while rock-throwing
separatist protesters clashed with security forces.
Turnout in the
territory was reported to be very light amid intense security and a
boycott call by separatist leaders.
Thursday's polls are the fourth of five stages in the staggered
election, which is seen as a close contest between India's two main
political parties, the ruling Congress party and the Hindu nationalist
Bharatiya Janata Party.
Neither party is expected to win enough seats to govern on its own, so
their leaders are seeking potential coalition partners from smaller and
Among them is the Communist Party of India (Marxist). One of its
leaders, Sitaram Yechury, says his party opposes supporting the
Congress Party, but its final position will only be known after votes
Kashmir separatist leaders called for a two-day strike to protest the polls.
Separatists in the Muslim-majority region oppose the elections because
they think the voting legitimizes New Delhi's rule of the territory,
which is claimed by both India and Pakistan.
The fifth and last phase of voting is May 13. Final results are expected May 16.
A new parliament has to be in place by June 2.
A total of 714 million people are eligible to vote in India, making
this election the world's largest exercise in democracy. The polls are
staggered for logistical and security reasons.