Kolkata: A total 324 companies of central forces will be deployed for the third phase of voting in West Bengal on April 23 and will cover more than 90 per cent of the polling booths in five Lok Sabha constituencies, a senior official of the Election Commission said Friday.
According to special observer Ajay Naik, 50 more compnaies of central forces are being sent by the ministry of home affairs for the third phase on the EC’s request.
Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad parliamentary constituencies will go to the polls in the third phase.
“Deployment of central forces was increased to 70-80 per cent in the second phase and the results were quite apparent. For the coming phases we had requested the Centre for 50 additional companies of central forces and the home ministry has agreed to it. So more than 90 per cent of the polling stations will be covered by the central forces,” Naik told reporters.
Election office sources said it was earlier decided to deploy 274 companies of central forces for the third phase of elections but now with another 50 additional companies 324 companies will be deployed at the polling stations,” he said.
In the first phase the central forces had covered 51 per cent of the booths in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar and in the second phase on Thursday in Raiganj, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri 194 companies of central forces had covered 80 per cent of the booths.
In the first phase on April 11 when polling was held in two Lok Sabha constituencies of Alipurduar and Coochbehar there were reports of booth capturing, smashing of EVMs and intimidation.
Similar incidents were reported in the second phase on April 18 from Chopra in Darjeeling constituency and also from Islampur in Raiganj constituency.
There were also reports of damage to the vehicle of sitting CPI-M MP Mohammed Salim at Raiganj.
“There is strict directive from the EC New Delhi to ensure that no such incidents get repeated in the third phase.
We are trying to set up arrangements for that,” Naik said.
There were demands from the BJP, Congress and CPI(M) to deploy central forces in all the polling stations in all the seven phases of the ongoing general elections.