Millennium Post

EC to deploy Central Forces in half of all booths for 2nd phase

Kolkata: The Election Commission has decided to deploy Central Forces at 50 percent of the total number of booths in the three Parliamentary constituencies which will go to polls on April 18, setting aside the demand of Opposition parties to deploy Central Forces in all the booths.

The Commission is relying on the state police forces, who will be guarding the other 50 percent of the booths. Out of the total number of booths in the three constituencies, around 20 percent have been demarcated as sensitive ones.

All the sensitive booths will be manned by Central Force jawans. It may be mentioned that elections would be conducted in Darjeeling, Raigunj and Jalpaiguri in the second phase.

It has been learnt from sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) that around 136 companies will be deployed in the three Lok Sabha constituencies.

Various Opposition parties in the state, including BJP, had placed their demand that all the booths must be manned by Central Force jawans. But after assessing the situation, the Commission observed that there is no need of deploying Central Forces in all the booths.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission is making special security arrangements for Darjeeling. The Commission has already taken a stock of the law and order situation in the three assembly constituencies ~ Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong that are falling under the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency.

According to sources in the Commission, out of 874 booths in these three assembly constituencies, around 685 have been demarcated as vulnerable. The total number of booths in Darjeeling PC is 1,899, among which 874 are in the hills, with the rest 1,025 in the plains. Out of the 874 booths in the hills, 261 are in Kurseong, 321 in Darjeeling and 292 in Kalimpong.

The CEO's office is gathering information from the police and the district administration in the three districts on a daily basis and the election officials are also tallying various reports from other agencies for preparing the security mechanism in these areas. The Commission is also taking stock of compliance of non-bailable warrants for preventive arrests.

As per data provided by the CEO Bengal's office to the Commission, 654 booths out of 1,623 in Raigunj and 572 booths out of 1,868 in Jalpaiguri, are considered to be sensitive. The election officials are currently assessing the vulnerability of the areas.

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