Bengal polls: EC deploys huge forces in bordering districts to avoid intrusion

Insight Online News

By Saibal Gupta

Kolkata, April 24 : The Election Commission has decided to deploy 653 companies of central forces for the penultimate seventh phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal scheduled for April 26, in which 34 constituencies across five districts will go to the polls.

The deployment plan laid down by the Commission shows that the mobilisation of forces in the three bordering districts is far more than in the other two districts, indicating that the poll panel is trying to plug infiltration attempts during the elections.

Of the five districts going to the polls in the seventh phase on Monday, three districts — Malda, Murshidabad and South Dinajpur — share borders with Bangladesh.

A total of 21 constituencies in these three districts, including nine in Murshidabad and six each in Malda and South Dinajpur, will go to the polls on Monday, for which the Commission has deployed as many as 436 companies of central forces.

Alternatively, only 217 companies of forces have been deployed for the remaining 13 constituencies where polling will be held on Monday — nine in West Burdwan and four in Kolkata.

A district-wise analysis shows that of the three bordering districts, Murshidabad has the highest allocation of 204 companies of central forces for nine constituencies, followed by Malda (122 companies for six constituencies) and South Dinajpur (110 companies for six seats).

As far as the non-bordering districts are concerned, 154 companies of central forces have been allocated to the nine constituencies in West Burdwan, while only 63 companies will man the four seats in South Kolkata.

“Murshodabad is not only a bordering district, but it also has a history of violence during elections. Considering all these factors, the highest mobilisation of forces has been made for this district. The Commission has carefully studied the topography, political history and ground reality of all the districts and prepared the deployment plan accordingly.

“The poll panel is against any kind of violence during the elections and wants people’s participation in this celebration of democracy. So we will do everything necessary to bring the people to the polling stations,” said a senior election official in the state.

As far as concentration of forces in the polling stations is concerned, Murshidabad has outnumbered all the other districts.

According to EC data, 204 companies of central forces will be used for manning 3,146 booths with a concentration of 6.4 personnel per booth.

This is closely followed by South Dinajpur where 110 companies of central forces will be used to man 1,136 polling booths with a concentration of 6.2 personnel per booth, while in Malda, 122 companies will be manning 2,157 booths which comes to 5.6 personnel per polling station.

Alternatively, 154 companies of central forces will be used to man 3,069 booths in West Burdwan while 63 companies of forces will be used to man 1,254 booths in Kolkata with a concentration of little more than 5 personnel per booth in both the districts.


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