Millennium Post

Stage set for phase 2 as Hills prepare for polls

Darjeeling: The stage is all set for the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, when Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raigunj will go to polls.

There are 1,899 polling stations in the constituency, while the total number of voters in the constituency is 16,00,564. The Darjeeling constituency comprises of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, along with the Chopra sub-division of Uttar Dinajpur district.

There are 16 candidates in the fray from Darjeeling constituency. "Owing to the number of candidates, two ballot units will be present in each booth. The first one will feature the 16 candidates, while the second one will have NOTA," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Election Officer and District Magistrate, Darjeeling.

2,612 control units, 4,597 ballot units and 2,628 VVPATs will be used in the constituency. 57 companies of CAPF have been deployed in the Darjeeling district, along with 9 companies in Kalimpong.

"75 to 80% of the booths will have CAPF deployment. In the other booths, state armed police personnel will be deployed," added Das Gupta. Along with this there will be micro observers, CCTVs and web casting. 246 booths have been earmarked as critical polling stations.

"We have requested Nepal and Bangladesh to seal the borders. Both the borders will be sealed from 6 pm on Tuesday till 6 pm on Thursday," stated the District Magistrate.

Polling at 64 booths in the Darjeeling district will be conducted by an all-women team. "Out of the 64, 32 booths are in the Hills with 32 in the plains of Darjeeling district. We will try to deploy female CAPF personnel or state armed personnel, wherever possible, in these 64 booths. The female polling personnel are very enthusiastic and have been imparted training to handle any eventuality," stated Das Gupta.

Around 5,000 differently-able voters have been identified in the district. "Out of the 5,000, around 60 need assistance. We will provide wheelchairs, transportation and all the required assistance so that they can vote without any hindrance," stated the District Election Officer.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that polling personnel have departed for the P-2 booths in the district. These are booths that are located in remote areas and require more than a day to reach. In some cases, man loads and ponies are used to carry the EVMs and VVPATs.

There are 3 such booths in Darjeeling district and 11 in Kalimpong district. The P-2 booths in Darjeeling include Danragaon, Srikhola Primary School and Rammam Forest Village Primary School. "The polling personnel for the 14 P-2 booths departed from Darjeeling and Kalimpong town on Tuesday. They will reach on Wednesday," added Das Gupta.

Vivek Dubey, the Special Police Observer for the state, held a meeting with the election officers in Raigunj on Tuesday. Talking to media persons, he stated that 195 companies of CAPF have been deployed in total at Raigung, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.

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