West Bengal: In 2nd phase, there will be more Central forces than first

Security officials keeping a watch during West Bengal voting on Monday. (Source: Express photo by Partha Paul)

With three North Bengal constituencies going to polls on the second phase of election on Thursday, the Election Commission has arranged massive security. According to sources, the number of central forces in the second phase will be double than the total deployment of central forces during the first phase, which was held on April 18. While in the first phase, nearly 83 companies were deployed, in the second phase, there will be more than 175 companies for the three constituencies, sources added.

There will be 179 companies of central forces, out of which 66 companies will be deployed in Darjeeling, 64 in Raiganj and 49 in Jalpaiguri, sources said.

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"Security of voters and polling personnel is our top priority. We have taken all possible measures. All the polling stations will have adequate armed forces. In the second phase, there will be more Central forces deployed than the first," said Additional CEO Sanjay Basu.
The fate of 42 candidates would be decided on Thursday. Out of 42 candidates, 12 are from Jalpaiguri, 16 from Darjeeling and 14 are from Raiganj. The total number of electors in Jalpaiguri is 17,31,834, 16,00,564 in Darjeeling and 15,99,948 in Raiganj. Sources said the EC was not happy with the way the elections were conducted in Cooch Behar. Highly placed officials said not all non-Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) booths were manned with adequate armed forces. Hence, taking a lesson from the first phase, additional deployment has been planned.

"Jalpaiguri has a total of 1,391 polling stations. Darjeeling, which is spread in across districts have 1,407 polling stations, while Raiganj has 1,313 polling stations," said a senior official.

The EC has appointed 1984-batch IAS officer Ajay V Nayak as the Special Observer for Bengal.

As per reports, after meeting police observers, Special Police Observer Vivek Dube told reporters that there weren't adequate arrangements in Cooch Behar.

"I was told that the arrangement was inadequate in Cooch Behar. Taking lessons from that we have prepared for the second phase. Almost 80 per cent of booths will have CAPF deployment. For the remaining 20 per cent, there will be the state police. In addition, there will be arrangements for mobile force and webcasting," Dube told reporters.