EC Releases 318 Companies Of Forces Before 8th Phase Of Bengal Polls

Kolkata: The Election Commission of India has released 318 of 1,071 companies present in the state before the crucial eighth phase of the election scheduled on April 29 when 35 assembly constituencies spanning across four districts will go for polls. These forces have been sent back from Bengal.

The election and the counting will be conducted with the help of the remaining 753 companies of which 646 companies will be directly used in the last phase and the rest of the forces will be used for other election related duties.

According to the deployment plan laid down by the commission, Birbhum will have the highest deployment of 225 companies of central forces for its 11 constituencies. Equally 215 companies of central forces will be used for its 11 constituencies and there will be a deployment of 110 companies for the remaining 6 constituencies of Malda. North Kolkata will have the lowest deployment of 96 companies for the 7 constituencies that will go for polls on Thursday. Overall, 646 companies of central forces will be engaged for conducting the election in the remaining 35 constituencies.

Though 11,860 booths will be manned by 646 companies with an average of 5.4 companies per booth but individually Murshidabad will have the highest concentration of 5.9 personnel per booth for its 3,796 booths followed by Birbhum that will have a concentration of 5.7 personnel per booth for its 3,908 booths.

There will be 5.3 personnel per booth for the 2,073 booths in Malda. North Kolkata will have the lowest concentration of only 4.6 personnel per booth for its 2,083 booths. Sources in the commission said that the rest of the 107 companies of central forces will be used primarily for the manning of the strong rooms and maintaining law and order in the districts where there is no election.

Apart from that to ensure a peaceful election the commission restricted the movement of Anubrata Mondal the president of the Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district unit. In an order, the commission on Tuesday asked the West Bengal chief electoral officer to put Mondal under “strict surveillance” of the executive magistrate and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), starting from 5 p.m. on April 27 till 7 a.m. on April 30, to ensure the conduct of free and fair polls. The poll body took the decision after receiving complaints and feedback from “various sources”, ahead of the eighth phase of the state assembly polls on April 29, when the district of Birbhum goes to vote.

The commission also deployed six senior police officers along with SP Nagendra Tripathy to make the election peaceful and free from violence.