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Bengal seeks additional forces from other states for Panchayat polls

Kolkata: Four or five other neighbouring states have been contacted for additional forces to be deployed at all the polling premises for the state Panchayat polls on May 14, state Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha said on Friday.
He claimed that the state has made adequate security arrangements for conducting the rural polls in a single phase. Purkayastha held a press conference at Nabanna on Friday where he stated that elections should be allowed to take place peacefully. He appealed to everyone and sought their cooperation regarding the same.
"The security arrangements for the Panchayat polls are adequate. There will be armed coverage in all the polling premises," Purkayastha told reporters here.
Stating that the state police are having sufficient capacity, Purkayatha said: "Manpower in the state police has gone up and the strength of the police has also increased."
It may be mentioned that there are 58,467 booths in 43,067 polling premises in 20 districts across the state and all the premises will be brought under the coverage of the armed forces.
The Calcutta High Court sought a detailed report on security arrangements for poll personnel. The court directed Anuj Sharma ADG (Law and Order) to submit the report by May 4.
A PIL has been filed with the High Court demanding compensation of Rs 10 lakh in case of death of a poll personnel and Rs 5 lakh for getting injured. In this connection, the court also wanted to know the steps that have been taken for the security of the polling personnel. The state in this connection submitted that they are taking all necessary steps for security of the polling personnel. The court has given directions to give it in writing.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission (SEC) convened a meeting of 10 political parties to discuss the poll process. The Calcutta High Court had also directed the SEC to conduct the elections after holding discussions with all the stakeholders.
On Thursday, the State Election Commission announced the poll date stating that the election will be held on a single day (May 14) and the post-poll scrutiny will be held on May 15 and if needed, repolling will be conducted on May 16. Though the date for counting of votes is yet to be announced, the state government has written to the SEC urging to do the same on May 17.
The state government has declared a holiday in 20 districts on May 13, 14 and 15 where the elections will be held.
The elections were earlier slated to be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5 but the schedule was pushed back after the Calcutta High Court stayed the polling process on petitions moved by the Opposition parties, who complained that they were not allowed to file nominations allegedly by armed miscreants owing allegiance to the ruling Trinamool Congress.
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