NEW DELHI - Maoist rebels were accused Sunday of assassinating a south Indian lawmaker and another former legislator in a brazen daytime ambush on their vehicle, police and media reports said.

Kidari Sarveswara Rao, a member of the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh state, was shot dead near the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in what police say was a targeted hit on the sitting legislator.

Former lawmaker S. Soma, who was accompanying Rao, was also gunned down in the attack blamed on Maoist fighters active in a forested belt of central and eastern India.

E. Naidu, a local police official, told AFP that Rao was on a Maoist "hit list" of powerful figures accused of having ties to bauxite miners in the mineral-rich state.

"There were some 30 Maoists in hiding. They attacked suddenly, giving no time for them (Rao and Soma) to react," he said.

The Press Trust of India reported that a large group blocked the car and overpowered the bodyguards escorting the two officials, before turning their weapons on them.

It was the first such attack in many years in Andhra Pradesh, once a hotbed for insurgents fighting for what they say are the land rights of marginalised tribal communities.

Maoists are still active across thousands of square miles of central and eastern India known as the "Red Corridor".

The insurgency began in West Bengal five decades ago when peasant farmers rose up against feudal landlords. Some 10,000 people have been killed since.