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EC meets polling officials demand for Central forces in every booth in Bengal

By HindusthanSamachar | Publish Date: Apr 8 2019 10:16PM
EC meets polling officials demand for Central forces in every booth in Bengal
Kolkata,08 April(HS): Fully agreeing with the deep concern shown by hundreds of Election Officials across West Bengal,the Election Commission in a landmark decision here today announced to deploy armed forces in each of the 77,000 odd booths in 42 constituencies in the state during the coming seven phase Lok Sabha elections from 11 April to 19 May. Announcing the Commission''s decision here this evening after witnessing strong opposition and the flat refusal of hundreds of polling officials to take part in the coming election process,the EC in a notification assured them that all out and every suitable step would be taken to provide maximum security to every polling official in each booth in every district in West Bengal in a bid to allay their fear of being killed by the goons during the elections, as happened during last year''s Panchatyay elections which claimed over 100 lives of all political parties. The demonstration by election officials to press for the deployment of only Central Security Forces in every booth which began at Raigunj town last week,soon spread to almost every other district and constituency in view of the growing fear among them. As such after Raigunj, similar protests were witnessed in Coochbegar, Malda, Balurghat, South Kolkata,South 24 Parganas and several others districts causing huge concern to the Commission and forcing it to take a decision of far reaching consequences. According to several political observes here such protests were organised perhaps for the first time in post independent India when the election officials themselves came out in organised protests expressing their fear about forceful polling in most of the booths like those in Panchayat elections. According to State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab here, though the notification did not mention about the number of central forces to be deployed in the first two phases of elections in seven constituencies in Bengal; it was expected that over 50 companies of Central forces would be deployed in over 5,000 odd booths in Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, Jalapuiguri, Raigung, Balurghat and Malda North constituencies on 11 and 18 April. It may be recalled that while demonstrating the polling officials made it clear that they had no faith that the state police would be able to ensure their personal security as they failed miserably during the last Panchayat elections when one Presiding Officer - Rajkumar Roy - was found dead at Itahar in North Dinajpur district under mysterious circumstances. Hindusthan Samachar/Ankur Bhattacharya/Manohar \
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