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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Election Commission of India to make additional security arrangements in highly sensitive booths

Sources in the poll panel identified the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency where 17,89,107 voters would cast their votes in the second phase on April 26 as the most sensitive among the six Lok Sabha constituencies which would go to the polls in the first two phases

Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 19.04.24, 08:16 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to make additional security arrangements in booths which are classified as highly sensitive in the first two phases of Lok Sabha elections in Bengal.

According to sources in the poll panel, 837 out of 5,814 polling stations have been identified as highly sensitive in the first phase of polls that will be held on Friday. Also, 1,342 out of 5,298 booths have been identified as highly sensitive in the second phase of polls scheduled for April 26.

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"According to the poll panel's mandate, central forces would guard all the booths in the first two phases. But in case of sensitive booths, there will be additional security arrangements like deployment of extra paramilitary personnel who will be on patrol duty so that they can rush to the spot as and when required," a senior official in the office of the chief electoral officer (CEO) said.

Apart from that, CCTVs will be installed at least seven feet high from the floor of the booth so that they cannot be damaged easily in case trouble breaks out.

"These CCTVs will be AI (Artificial Intelligence)-enabled and will send alerts to the control rooms during an emergency on a real-time basis. These CCTVs will be monitored simultaneously from the district control room, the control room in the CEO's office and the Nirvachan Sadan in Delhi," the official said.

"There will also be micro observers in all these polling stations and they will give the commission an extensive report after the end of the poll," the official added.

Sources in the poll panel identified the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency where 17,89,107 voters would cast their votes in the second phase on April 26 as the most sensitive among the six Lok Sabha constituencies which would go to the polls in the first two phases.

Statistics reveal that out of the total 1730 polling stations, about 30 per cent (508) have been marked as highly sensitive.

Raiganj is closely followed by Jalpaiguri, where out of the total 1,917 polling stations, nearly 25 per cent (482 stations) have been declared highly vulnerable. In the Jalpaiguri constituency, comprising Jalpaiguri and parts of Siliguri police commissionerate, 18,85,963 electorates will cast their votes in the first phase on April 19.

The commission has deployed 111 companies of central forces for Raiganj — 60 companies in Raiganj and another 51 companies in Islampur that falls under the Raiganj constituency. The commission has also deployed 88 companies in Jalpaiguri — 73 companies in Jalpaiguri and another 13 companies in Siliguri commissionerate which fall in the Jalpaiguri Parliament Constituency.

"More forces have been deployed in these constituencies to avoid any kind of untoward situation," a commission official said.

In light of the sensitivity observed in Cooch Behar, where four individuals tragically lost their lives due to CISF firing in Sitalkuchi during the Assembly elections in 2021, the Election Commission has also deployed 112 companies exclusively for this constituency.

"We will maintain a strict vigil on all constituencies, with additional forces on standby for swift response in any emergency," stated a commission official.

Additionally, 196 polling stations in Cooch Behar, 159 in Alipurduar — which would go for polls on Friday — have been identified as sensitive. Also, 408 booths in Darjeeling, along with 382 in Balurghat, have been classified as highly sensitive.

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