New Delhi: With announcement of assembly elections to five states set to be made at noon today, the Election Commission held a meeting with Chief Electoral Officers of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa to fine tune the arrangements.
The law and order situation in Manipur due to road blockade by some Naga groups was the focus of attention of the Election Commission, sources said.
At the meeting, the assessment of the law and order situation, deployment of polling personnel, safety and electronic voting machines and strict implementation of the model code of conduct also came up for discussion.
In its report to the Election Commission, the Union Home Ministry has conveyed that ground situation in Manipur following the blockade of National Highway 2 by United Naga Council and the state government’s alleged “failure” to resume normal traffic even after 60 days.
“In the report, the Home Ministry told the EC about the ongoing tension and grave situation prevailing in Manipur. The EC may independently make an assessment of the situation so that election can be conducted properly,” a top Home Ministry official told news agency PTI.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry will provide around 85,000 security personnel for deployment in the upcoming assembly elections in the five states. At a high-level meeting with the Election Commission, top officials of the Ministry led by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi conveyed that it would provide around 750 companies of paramilitary forces for smooth conduct of the election process in the five states.
In addition, around 100 companies, most of which belong to State Armed Police Forces and India Reserve Battalions, will also be drawn from different states for deployment of election duties.
A company of paramilitary force comprises of around 100 personnel. As of now, the Election Commission plans to hold seven-phased assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and single-phased in the other states. But with situation in Manipur assuming alarming proportions, the poll body may go for multiple phases in the north-eastern state. But there is no official word on it.