No camps of political parties within 200 metres of any polling booth: EC
Kolkata: The Election Commission will not allow any gathering or setting up of camp office of any political party within 200 metres of a polling booth in the last phase of elections on Sunday when nine parliamentary constituencies in Bengal including Kolkata North and Kolkata South go to polls. This is for the first time in recent years when the Election Commission has taken such a measure.
"We will strictly implement the guidelines of the Election Commission and will not allow any sort of gathering within 200 metres of a polling booth. There will be Section 144 within 200 metres and strong action will be taken in case of any violation. The punishment, as mentioned under Section 188 of the IPC, may extend up to imprisonment of three years. No camps of any political party will be allowed within 200 metres of any polling booth," said a senior official of the Election Commission.
The Commission is also emphasising on proper deployment of Quick Response Teams (QRT) for the polls.
The decision comes in the wake of allegations of late intervention of QRTs in areas that have witnessed trouble in the sixth phase of polls on May 12.
The Commission has decided to deploy 461 QRTs, which means two teams per police station area effectively. Kolkata Police will have 178 companies of QRTs for Kolkata alone. Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey has instructed the QRTs to ensure intervention within 5 to 7 minutes after reports of any trouble.
"We have also introduced a GPS-enabled app for tracking the movement of QRTs and direct instructions as and when necessary," a senior official in the CEO office said.
The EC has given instructions to the CEO office that QRTs should reach a spot of any disturbance within a maximum time of 15 minutes. "There will be at least one constable of the state police in a QRT team to provide guidance about the routes," the official added.
There will be a total deployment of 710 companies of the Central Forces in the elections, out of which 676 will be manning the booths while the rest will be posted for guarding the strongrooms. There will be 100 percent deployment of the Central Forces in all the 17,042 booths for the seventh phase of elections.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain called up CEO Bengal Aariz Aftab on Saturday and took stock of the security arrangement. He instructed the CEO office to ensure all possible measures to hold a free and fair election.