City turns into fortress ahead of fifth phase
South Kolkata and its neighbourhood have been brought under unprecedented security cover to ensure free and fair election on Saturday which is the fifth phase of the six phase polls.
There will election in four constituencies in South Kolkata, 31 constituencies in South 24 Parganas and 18 seats in Hooghly.
One hundred and thirteen companies of Central Forces have been deployed to maintain peace. In addition to this, there will be 12,000 city police personnel. The security personnel are checking cars, two wheelers and trucks at important road intersections like Park Street, Rashbehari Avenue, Jagubabur Bazaar, Mallickbazar, Exide more, Harish Mukherjee Road- Elgin Road intersection. Eighty six motor cycle teams are patrolling the area. Extra measures have been taken in the port area.
Eight hundred vulnerable areas have been identified and 1,467 polling booths situated in these areas have been declared vulnerable. Five companies of Central Force personnel are guarding the strong rooms.
The Central Forces personnel conducted a route march to earn confidence of voters. Some vernacular television media are unnecessarily creating panic among people by stating that there would be trouble in South Kolkata on Saturday.
There are four constituencies in South Kolkata. They are Bhowanipore, Ballygunge, Rashbehari and Kolkata Port constituencies.
Mamata Banerjee is contesting from Bhowanipore. Her rivals are Deepa Das Munshi of Congress and Chandra Bose of BJP. Subrata Mukjerjee is facing Krishna Debnath in Ballygunge. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay is contesting from Rashbehari and Firhad Hakim is contesting from Kolkata Port.
Bhowanipore, Rashbehari and Ballygunge are peaceful areas. These areas did not witness violence even during the Naxalite movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. People of Bhowanipore and Rashbehari were surprised when the Central Forces personnel conducted route march in the area. They also complained of police highhandedness.
During checking, the police are not only examining the documents like the blue book, insurance paper and pollution certificate but are also interrogating the driver or owner. They then, are examining the boots and even the seats, both the front and back and those travelling on the back seat are asked to get down during search.
Hundred and eight companies of Central Force personnel would be on the street while five would be kept to guard the string room. Security has been tightened in and around David Hare College on Ballygunge Circular Road and Beharilal College in Hastings where the EVMs will be kept in the strong rooms.
Special security arrangements have been ensured to stop miscreants coming to the city by using riverine routes. The Kolkata Port constituency is very close to river Hooghly. Also, vigilance along river Hooghly has been tightened to prevent outsiders from entering Hooghly.
There will be six poll observers and 109 micro observers from Kolkata.