A 50-strong group of Maoists struck at a CPI(M) stronghold in West Midnapore district and opened fire, killing a local leader and leaving 22 others injured.
The incident came hours before an Election Commission team comprising police officers was to visit the district to assess the law and order in the state before Assembly polls.
Police sources said that a group of Maoists encircled Chapardah village in Belatikri, the Marxist stronghold in Lalgarh police station area, and shot dead CPI(M) local leader Khagen Adhikary, left several injured besides assaulting residents on Monday night.
Adhikary's body bearing bullet wounds was found this morning in a canal, the sources said.
Twenty-two injured villagers were sent to the Lalgarh health centre, the sources said.
"Last night Maoists gheraoed the village, killed Khagen and beat up all residents and did not spare women and children," Lalgarh CPI(M) leader Chandi Karan said.
When contacted, the two-member EC team touring the district declined comment.
"We are not supposed to comment on specific incidents. We are looking into everything," they said.