West Bengal elections: EC allays fears of political violence, rules out civic police deployment around polling booths

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New Delhi | January 22, 2021 4:00 PM

The Chief Election Commissioner said that political parties want optimal deployment of central forces during the West Bengal election.

West Bengal Assembly Election latest newsJust like Bihar, the number of polling booths has been increased in West Bengal due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Allaying fears of political violence during West Bengal Assembly Election, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora today said that the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and Home Secretary have assured that state civic police personnel will not be deployed near polling booths.

“We’ve taken an assurance from the Chief Secretary, DGP and Home Secretary that there shall be no civic police anywhere near any action related to the polling,” said CEC Sunil Arora.

Arora informed that the commission had in-depth interaction with political parties and most had concerns regarding the law and order situation. He said that political parties are fearing that high-voltage electioneering could precipitate into political violence which could vitiate the electoral process.

The CEC said that political parties want optimal deployment of central forces during the election. “They (political parties) also wanted optimal deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Some political parties also cited anomalies in the electoral rolls,” said the CEC.

Just like Bihar, the number of polling booths has been increased in West Bengal due to Covid-19 pandemic. Arora said that all polling stations will be at the ground floor for ease of access.

“Due to COVID, the number of polling stations has been increased. Earlier, West Bengal had 78,903 polling stations. Now the state has 1,01,790 polling stations. All polling stations shall be at the ground floor level,” said CEC Sunil Arora.

Reacting to the allegations made by TMC leader and West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim that the Border Security Force (BSF) was threatening people in the border areas to vote for the BJP, the CEC said that the commission has asked for concrete evidence.

“It is unfortunate that a party made averments about the BSF. I’ve asked for concrete instances. They’re (BSF) one of the finest forces in the country. There is no point in castigating any force, ad-nauseum,” said Arora.

Earlier yesterday, the BJP had written to the Election Commission alleging that there’s state-sponsored anarchy in West Bengal and the Indian constitution applies only at the places where it suits the ruling regime led by Mamata Banerjee.

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