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1-min read

After Poll Violence, Only Central Forces To Be Deployed at All Booths in Bengal In 5th Phase, Says EC

The state has seen a spate of violence in the first four phases of elections, which claimed the life of a voter who was caught in clashes at a polling booth in Murshidabad district on April 23.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:May 1, 2019, 5:38 PM IST
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After Poll Violence, Only Central Forces To Be Deployed at All Booths in Bengal In 5th Phase, Says EC
The state has seen a spate of violence in the first four phases of elections, which claimed the life of a voter who was caught in clashes at a polling booth in Murshidabad district on April 23.
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Kolkata: The Election Commission will deploy 578 companies of central paramilitary forces and also ensure 100% deployment of central security forces at all booths in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on May 6.

The poll panel said no state police will be presence within the polling premises in seven constituencies.

Compared to the fourth phase, the number of central security forces has been increased, which will come as a relief for Opposition parties. The BJP had approached the EC on several occasions during the ongoing election, seeking 100% deployment of central paramilitary forces in polling booths.

“This is an essential move. People have a right to vote,” said BJP leader Chandra Kumar Bose, fighting from the Kolkata South constituency. “In my constituency, people tell me they want to vote but they are scared of a backlash. Central forces are not employed by the EC and they will perform their duty. These forces will act if they have to, unlike the state police who are mute spectators.”

West Bengal has seen a spate of violence in the first four phases of elections, which claimed the life of a voter who was caught in clashes at a polling booth in Murshidabad district on April 23.

The fourth phase on April 29 was also marred by violence in Asansol and Birbhum constituencies, prompting a BJP delegation to submit a letter to the EC seeking re-polling in all booths in the two constituencies.

Asansol BJP MP Babul Supriyo’s car was allegedly vandalised by Trinamool Congress supporters when he went from one booth to another to ensure people were allowed to vote freely. Supriyo had also asked a TMC polling agent at a booth for clarification as to why the BJP polling agent was missing there.

A BJP delegation, including Supriyo, had approached the EC on Tuesday morning to bring the particular incident to its notice, apart from other complaints.

With cent percent deployment of central security forces, the BJP claims the Trinamool will be unable to resort to rigging of votes.

However, the ruling party in the state expressed its apprehension and accused the EC of taking orders from the BJP. “The state government has to incur the expenses for deployment of the central forces. This is going to weigh heavily on the government, which is already under the burden of loans,” said party leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay.
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