83 companies of central forces for 2 Loksabha seats in West Bengal

Central Force

Kolkata । Bengal will vote in heavy security for the first phase.  As many as 83 companies of Central Armed Police Forces along with adequate number of state police personnel, mobile patrolling units and Quick Response Teams are being deployed in West Bengal’s two Lok Sabha seats.

The Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat with roughly 1.8 crore voters, has 2,010 polling stations while Alipurduar, in the foothills of north Bengal, has a 1.64 crore strong electorate and 1,834 polling stations.

Both the districts have got a thick security cover, with both national and international borders sealed, in tune with the Election Commission’s promise to take adequate “measures” to conduct free and fair polls.

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However, the long-standing demand of the state’s opposition parties to deploy central force troopers in all polling stations might not get addressed in the first phase of polling, as according to senior officers, paramilitary personnel will be deployed only in the booths identified as “critical”.

Cooch Behar’s new Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar Singh, who took charge on Tuesday after the EC shunted out Abhishek Gupta just two days before the polls, said 47 companies of central forces will be deployed in the district for Thursday’s election.

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He said out of 2,010 polling stations in the constituency, close to 700 have been identified as critical where CAPF personnel will take charge of security.

36 companies would be deployed in Alipurduar, of which 22 have been already pressed into service.

The Cooch Behar district, that is set to witness a four pronged battle between state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Left and the Congress, saw large-scale demonstrations by poll officials demanding deployment of central forces at every polling booths a few days back.

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State government employees and teachers engaged for Lok Sabha election duties said that are apprehensive about their security ever since poll official Rajkumar Ray’s body was found on train track near north Bengal’s Raiganj station during last year’s Panchayat election.

Similar protests sprung up in Alipurduar but the district administration issued a press note directing all the assigned personnel to take part in poll duty and warned stern action against those unwilling.