Phase V: ECI to make highest deployment of security forces

Phase V: ECI to make highest deployment of security forces

Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is making elaborate security arrangements in Bengal for the fifth phase of elections scheduled on May 20 by deploying over 60,000 Central Forces and 29,172 state forces. This is the highest deployment so far in the elections held in the state.

Central Forces will be assigned with the responsibility of managing 13,481 polling stations across 7 constituencies, spread over 7,845 premises. About 613 companies of Central Forces will be engaged which amounts to almost 7.8 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel per polling premises.

The strong security deployment comes in the wake of vulnerability reports from the constituencies revealing that 7,711 out of 13,481 polling stations, accounting over 57 per cent of the booths, are classified as sensitive. Seven constituencies namely Hooghly, Serampore, and Arambagh in Hooghly district; Bongaon and Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas district and Howrah and Uluberia in Howrah district are scheduled for polling on May 20.

Poll panel sources said the sensible booths in the fifth phase are notably higher in comparison to the last four phases during which 18 constituencies witnessed polls. In the first phase, 14.52 percent of the booths were declared sensitive which rose to 32.19 per cent in the second phase, 40.21 per cent in the third phase, and then dropped to 21.35 per cent in the fourth phase.

“In Hooghly and Arambagh alone, the number of sensitive booths is more than 80 per cent. Hence, extensive arrangements were made to make the polls peaceful,” a CEO office official said.

The commission’s data indicates in Hooghly, 1787 out of 2048 polling stations (approximately 87.25 per cent) are labelled as sensitive while in Arambagh, 1770 out of 2078 polling stations (approximately 85.17 per cent) hold this classification. The ECI has deployed a staggering 198 Central Force companies to oversee security in these two areas.Approximately 67.19 per cent of polling stations in Barrackpore and 59.53 per cent in Serampore are sensitive, prompting the deployment of 56 and 60 companies of Central Forces, respectively. There will be 86 companies for Bongaon, 133 companies for Uluberia and 80 companies for Howrah Parliamentary constituencies.

Additionally, during the fifth phase, there will be over 1,000 Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and High Radio Flying Squads (HRFS) for immediate intervention in case of any disturbances.

The QRTs will utilise GPS-installed vehicles for efficient tracking and rapid deployment. There will be webcasting in 100 per cent of the booths.

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