Kolkata, Apr 15 : The Election Commission of India (ECI) is actively considering deployment of more central forces in the second phase election to West Bengal's three Lok Sabha seats of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raigunj in North Bengal on April 18 as the Opposition parties have been mounting pressure for cent per cent policing by the paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair voting on Thursday.
According to the latest report, about 80 per cent polling booths in Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raigunj are sensitive.Official sources said the poll body has been in touch with the district officials of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and North Dinajpur for deployment of paramilitary forces in all the sensitive booths across three districts, which have porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh.
Sources said the poll body has placed a requisition of more 60 companies of para military forces in addition with 134 such companies already stationed in the state. Deployment of more central forces has been actively considered after complaints of malpractices during the first phase on April 11 at Cooch Behar and Alipurduar Lok Sabha seats, also in North Bengal.
Despite the Opposition demand for cent per cent deployment of central forces, some 60 percent of the 4,000-odd booths in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar were under state police guard. The complaints were mainly for 300 state police-guarded polling centers on April 11. Besides, the BJP, the Left parties and Congress have been mounting pressure on the poll body to deploy central forces in all the polling booths in West Bengal. BJP's central party observer for Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya said for the second phase poll they wanted 100 per cent central forces in all the booths. " We also want CCTV cameras to be installed in all booths to prevent malpractices by the ruling Trinamool Congress, ” he stated.
Mr Vijayvargiya said, “ In the first phase, central forces were not deployed in 100 per cent polling booths. For the rest of the phases and especially for the second phase on April 18, we want central forces in 100 percent booths. We also want CCTV cameras to be installed in all booths to prevent malpractices by the ruling Trinamool Congress. ” “ Without adequate deployment of central forces, free and fair election is not possible. The state has a history of violent elections. Last year’s Panchayat election is one such example, ” the BJP leader added. (UNI)