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Elections in India's communist bastion

Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters

A woman holds up her ink-stained finger after casting her vote outside a polling station during the sixth and final phase of voting in Lalgarh village in West Midnapore district in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal on May 10. The results for the month-long staggered election of the state will be known on May 13.

As we reported last month, elections in the Indian state of West Bengal could see a populist maverick unseat the world longest-serving, democratically elected communist government.

Piyal Adhikary / EPA

An elderly woman waits on the gate of her home next to a wall painted with symbols and slogans of the ruling Left Communist party of Bengal in Mukundapur village 35km east of Kolkata, on 22 March.

After 34 years of communist rule, federal Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, a firebrand orator known as "Didi" or "elder sister," looks set to overthrow the communists blamed for leaving West Bengal and its capital Kolkata in a time-warp of Soviet era state control.

Bikas Das / AP

Indian Railway Minister and leader of the Trinamool Congress party Mamata Banerjee waits for the arrival of Indian Prime Minister and Congress party leader Manmohan Singh during an election campaign in Kolkata on April 23. The Congress party and Trinamool Congress party are allies in the ongoing six-phased elections for the state of West Bengal.

The results are expected to be announced on Friday. Tripti Lahiri of the Wall Street Journal blogged today on what a victory for Ms. Banerjee might mean for the state.