'Militants may try attack during India vote' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Militants may try attack during India vote'

India fears possible militant attacks during the coming general election campaign, P Chidambaram said. The country remains nervous after Islamist militants killed 166 people in a strike on the financial hub Mumbai last November.

delhi Updated: Mar 05, 2009 15:17 IST

India fears possible militant attacks during the coming general election campaign, home minister P Chidambaram said.

The country remains nervous after Islamist militants killed 166 people in a strike on the financial hub Mumbai last November. The figure has been revised down from that given earlier by officials.

"In the run up to the elections, there will be great temptation to attempt something dramatic. So we have to be very, very vigilant," Chidambaram told a news channel on Wednesday night.

More than two million security personnel will be deployed in the world's largest democratic exercise in April and May, for which 714 million people are eligible to vote.

Security will likely be a major campaign issue as India's main parties peddle a strong anti-terror line.

The Congress-led government introduced a slew of anti-terror measures after the Mumbai strike, but its main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has repeatedly accused its rival of being soft on terror.

In what may appeal to voters, the government ratched up rhetoric against Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks, which it says were carried out by Pakistan-based militants.

New Delhi says its nuclear-armed rival has done little to clamp down on militant activity on its soil, and has put a pause on a slow-moving peace process between the countries.

An militant attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore this week is further evidence that Pakistan cannot keep its house in order, Chidambaram said.