100 companies of central forces start route march in poll-bound Bengal
The 100 companies of central forces have started route march in various districts including Kolkata from Monday as a part of the confidence building exercise of the voters.
A senior election commission official said that another 100 companies are likely to be deployed in the districts in next 2-3 days to further boost the exercise. According to the official, around 2,000 spots which were already identified as sensitive areas will be covered by the central forces in the next few days. The prime objective of the route march was to build the confidence among the voters.
“In all the districts there are some pockets and polling stations which were already been identified by the commission as sensitive. Various confidence building exercises will be done in the area. The police and election officials will talk to the voters to know their problems. Around 2,000 such areas have been demarcated by the commission,” a senior election commission official said.
Senior leaders from Congress and Left parties had met the senior Election Commission officials in Delhi last week urging them to deploy adequate central forces in West Bengal to ensure free and safe election. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had gone through the reports sent by the Chief Election Officer, Sunil Gupta on the law and order situation across the state and has decided to send 200 companies of central forces in the state.
An official on Monday hinted that around 7-8 central observers may come to the city within few days to take a stock of the overall law and order situation. It was learnt that people who were the polling agents of the candidates belonging to the opposition parties in the last municipal and Lok Sabha polls were asked for their feedback on the law and order situation.
The Election Commission officials were trying to ensure that there is a route march at all the potentially sensitive areas by the central forces. The forces had conducted a route march in some parts of the city and the districts on Monday. Some districts are yet to receive the paramilitary forces.
All the District Magistrates and other senior officials in the district were earlier asked to prepare a report on the law and order situation in the state and identify all the sensitive areas. They prepared a report and sent it to the election commission officials who in turn verified them and submitted the report to the ECI.
It may be mentioned here that the Chief Electoral Officer will soon submit a report to the ECI on the transfer of Bharati Ghosh who was recently transferred to the post OSD (LWE). She was the superintendent of police of West Midnapore. The ECI had sought a report in this regard. CPI(M) leader Robin Dev on Monday met some senior election commission officials here in the city, placing their demand of deploying the forces in the areas where their party activists have been tortured. “The commission should give attention to the areas where our party workers have been heckled. We have submitted a list of the areas where our workers had been subjected to physical torture. The commission must ensure a free and fair election,” Dev said. In a reshuffle, three IPS officers have been transferred. Amitabha Maiti who was the additional deputy commissioner (East) has become additional SP West Midnapore. Kumar Gautam has been transferred to additional deputy commissioner Asansol Durgapur Commissionarate, while Anshuman Saha has been transferred and posted as CO (SAP, 2nd Battalion).