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EC to bring 25 extra companies of Central Forces ahead of 2nd phase

EC to bring 25 extra companies of Central Forces ahead of 2nd phase

Kolkata: The Election Commission will bring an additional 25 companies of Central Forces for the second phase of elections in Bengal on April 18, when the Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls. According to sources in the commission, out of the 25 companies that will be available, 10 companies will be from Meghalaya Armed Forces, with 5 from Manipur Police, 8 from Sikkim and 2 from Tripura.

"This will be in addition to the existing 79 companies that had been deployed for the first phase of elections held on Thursday (today). They were supposed to come a day before the first phase but somehow it couldn't be arranged," a source in the EC said.

The commission was unable to deploy Central Forces in each of the 3,844 polling booths in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, both of which went to polls on Thursday. Central Forces were deployed only in the 1,067 critical booths, while the rest did patrolling duty and guarded strong rooms.

The commission's wish list for the phase-1 polls included 104 companies of Central Forces. However, they could deploy only 79 companies for the first phase, which was 25 companies less than what it had wanted. Out of this, 29 companies had been withdrawn from Jangalmahal. The state administration, however, ensured that sufficient state armed police forces were there in all the booths for peaceful elections.

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