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SEC chief meets top cops to take stock of security arrangements

Kolkata: State Election Commissioner A K Singh on Monday held a meeting with top officials of the state police, including state Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya, to discuss the security arrangements for the Panchayat elections in the state scheduled on May 14.
The meeting assumes significance as the state Election Commission (SEC) will have to submit a report on detailed security arrangements before the Calcutta High Court on May 4.
It has been learnt that Director General of Police (DGP) Surajit Kar Purkayastha apprised Singh about the government's plan on the security arrangements. The DGP sought details from the Commissioner about the number of voters in each of the polling premises and said that foolproof arrangements will be made on the basis of the number of such premises.
The state government wants to deploy an armed police personnel in each of the polling premises. The number of armed police personnel in the state is 46,000 and the total number of voting premises is 43,067.
The SEC wants to deploy at least two armed police personnel in the highly sensitive booths in the state. It may be mentioned that Trinamool Congress has won uncontested in more than 20,000 booths across the state, which means that elections will involve around 35,000 polling booths.
The total police force in the state is 58,000 strong, out of which 46,000 are armed forces while the rest are lathi wielding constables.
Meanwhile, the hearing regarding the Panchyat elections was deferred till Tuesday at the Calcutta High Court, as Justice Subrata Talukdar failed to turn up at the court due to illness. The CPI(M) and the PDS had moved the court, questioning the one day poll announced by SEC.
"The SEC had earlier announced a three day poll. Now they have announced a one day poll. We are apprehensive of the security measures that will be in place," a CPI(M) leader said. The BJP is also a party in the case.
A senior Congress leader alleged that the notification for the polls declared by the state SEC is invalid, as the latter had not discussed anything with them in this regard.
The petition filed by CPI(M) and Congress on the filing of nominations through e-mail, did not conclude at the division bench of the high court as the petitions were erroneous. The matter will be heard again at the division bench of Biswanath Somadder and Arindam Mukhopadhyay on Tuesday.

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