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More security for election officials at CEO office to prevent easy access by political leaders

More security for election officials at CEO office to prevent easy access by political leaders

Kolkata: Security arrangements of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) will be beefed up to ensure that no political parties have an easy access to the senior election officials without their prior permission.

Steps have been taken after a BJP delegation comprising senior party leaders stormed into the office of the CEO, Ariz Aftab on Friday, demanding a repoll at 297 polling booths in Cooch Behar. The CEO office saw an unprecedented incident when the BJP delegation, headed by Mukul Roy, sat on the floor of the CEO office and demanded his removal. Taking a cue from this, the CEO instructed the Kolkata Police to strengthen the security measures in and around its office. Senior election officials held a meeting with the city police officers on Saturday. It was decided that no political party leaders or their representatives would be allowed to enter the CEO office without prior permission. In case of any political party leaders willing to submit a deputation, they have to inform the CEO office as to how many members will be there in the deputation team. The party leaders will not be allowed to congregate at the main entrance.

It may be mentioned that various political party leaders often stage protests holding their party banners and festoons and shout slogans to meet their various demands. Such incidents create a complete chaos. On Friday, BJP supporters staged a demonstration outside the office of the CEO since morning and later leaders including Mukul Roy, Joyprakash Mazumdar and Sishir Bajoria barged into the CEO's office, where Roy had a heated exchange. They also alleged that the CEO was 'favouring' one political party.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has given direction to all the District Electoral Officers not to allow more than 10 vehicles in the convoy of star campaigners. The star campaigners will also have to use their personal security carefully. Moreover, the star campaigners will have to take permission from the Commission through 'Subidha' app and there they should provide details about their campaign, convoy and security measures.

The Election Commission is making special security arrangements for the three Assembly constituencies in the Hills — Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong under Darjeeling Parliamentary constituency with nearly 80 percent of the booths being highly sensitive. Darjeeling, along with Jalpaiguri and Raigunj, are the three Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) in the state that are going to polls on April 18. According to sources, out of 874 booths in these three Assembly constituencies, 685 are marked as vulnerable. The total number of booths in Darjeeling PC are 1,899 among which 874 booths are in the Hills and the rest 1,025 are in the plains. Out of the 874 booths in the Hills, 261 are in Kurseong, 321 in Darjeeling and 292 in Kalimpong.

The Commission is also taking stock of compliance of non-bailable warrants preventive arrests.

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