ECI full bench meets state CEO
Kolkata: The full bench of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday assured full support to state CEO Ariz Aftab for conducting free and fair elections in Bengal.
The full bench comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two Commissioners – Sushil Chandra and Rajeev Kumar — held an hour-long meeting with the CEO and took stock of the election preparedness in the state. Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of West Bengal Sudeep Jain also came with the full bench to assist the meetings.
ADG (Law and Order) Gyanwant Singh who was also slated to meet the full bench along with the CEO on Wednesday evening has been asked to appear on Thursday morning.
The full bench took feedback from Aftab regarding availability and movement of the Central forces before and during the elections which is likely to be completed in the month of April. The Commission feels that additional forces need to be deployed during the elections as the number of booths have increased by nearly 30 percent in the wake of Covid situation for which health protocols need to be maintained.
"In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the total number of booths were 77,247 spread over 52,277 locations but this time the number of booths have increased to 1,01,733, " an EC official said.
Following the meeting with Singh, the full bench will hold another meeting separately with all the political parties, officials of election-related regulatory agencies and also with the District Magistrates and Police Superintendents of the districts.
On Friday, the full bench will hold a meeting with the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Director General of Police and other senior state officials before leaving the city later in the afternoon.