Battleground Bengal: Third phase most critical for ECI on security issues

Insight Online News

Kolkata, April 30 : The third phase of Lok Sabha polls for the four minority-dominated constituencies in West Bengal, namely Maldaha-Uttar, Maldaha-Dakshin, Murshidabad and Jangipur on May 7 is viewed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) as most critical in terms of security.

Out of the four constituencies, Murshidabad and Jangipur in Murshidabad District are under the special scanner of the commission considering their history of poll-related violence and loss of human lives.

In the polls for the three-tier panchayat system in West Bengal last year, the state witnessed 55 casualties, the majority of which were from Murshidabad District.

Apart from the history of violence, insiders in the Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) office say the ECI is apprehensive as reports of pre-poll clashes have been surfacing from Murshidabad District in the last few days.

Insiders said that keeping the past record in mind the ECI chose not to conduct polls in Murshidabad District on a single day.

While the elections for Murshidabad and Jangipur will be conducted in the third phase on May 7, those for Baharampur will be conducted in the fourth phase on May 13.

Second, as per the plans of the ECI as of now, 406 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) will be deployed for the third phase.

“Already 382 CAPF companies are in West Bengal, another 24 will be reaching in a day or two. The final constituency-wise distribution will be announced after that. But needless to say, the maximum deployment will be for Murshidabad and Jangipur,” sources in the CEO’s office said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool Congress got elected from both Murshidabad and Jangipur, an erstwhile Congress stronghold. While the BJP bagged the Maldaha-Uttar constituency, the Congress’ candidate got elected from Maldaha-Dakshin.

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