Election Commission to deploy central forces for Bengal bypolls
The Election Commission of India on Tuesday decided to deploy 52 companies of central forces for the three Assembly bypolls in Bengal on September 30, sources in the poll panel said.
According to officials in the ECI, 15 companies of central forces will be deployed for the Bhowanipore Assembly segment, where Trinamul Congress has fielded chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The development comes a day after the BJP had written to the poll panel seeking deployment of central forces at all booths of the three constituencies.
“Bhowanipore constituency has the least number of booths, 288. Thus, we are planning to deploy 15 companies of the forces for this seat,” a poll panel official said.
“Since the number of booths in Samsherganj and Jangipur are more, the deployment will also be higher,” the official added.
Samsherganj and Jangipur have 329 and 363 booths, respectively. For Jangipur, 18 companies will be allotted, whereas for Samsherganj, the allotment will be 19 companies.
The ECI official said 15 companies had already reached the state for area domination. These companies include seven from the CRPF, four from the BSF, two from the SSB and one each from the ITBP and the CISF.
The Trinamul Congress has criticised the poll panel’s decision. The party spokesperson and state general secretary, Kunal Ghosh, alleged that the ECI was acting under the influence of the BJP.
“Let them deploy two armed personnel for each voter.... Let them withdraw all the forces from the borders as well and task them with blocking Trinamul. They will still not be able to influence the people who will vote for Mamata Banerjee,” Ghosh said.
The BJP on the other hand claimed that the ECI had offered a “consolation prize” to Trinamul by agreeing to conduct the bypoll in Bhowanipore and hence, its allegations weren’t justified.
“Let them come up with something new.... The people do not buy these anymore,” said chief spokesperson of state BJP Shamik Bhattacharya.