The Election Commission on Wednesday announce that only central security forces, not state police, will be deployed at all polling booths in West Bengal for the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha Elections on May 6 next week. “Total of 578 companies of central forces are being deployed for 5th phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. 100% polling stations will be covered by central forces as static postings,” said Vivek Dubey, Special Police Observer for West Bengal. “In addition, 142 Quick Response Teams, manned by central forces, also will be ready to reach any place of incident,” Dubey added.
The step comes a day after the BJP urged the poll panel for security deployment in wake of the poll violence. Following reports of a clash between the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP workers outside a booth in Asansol's Barabani, and vandalism of the vehicle of Union Minister and sitting MP Babul Supriyo, a BJP delegation met top officials of the poll panel in Delhi on Tuesday. The delegation included Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vijay Goel, and the party's media in-charge Anil Baluni.
After meeting the poll panel officials, Naqvi told reporters, "The ruling Trinamool Congress workers have hijacked democracy in the state and are indulging in violence. They are being supported by the local machinery and we demand deployment of central forces in all polling booths in the state."
Bengal has witnessed several clashes during polling in last one month. The fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections was also marred by multiple incidents of clashes and violence in West Bengal, where an estimated 76.66 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in eight parliamentary constituencies on Monday. An electorate of 1,34,56,491 cast ballot to decide the fate of 68 candidates in Baharampur, Krishnagar, Ranaghat (SC), Burdwan East (SC), Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur (SC) and Birbhum. Clashes broke out between supporters of rival parties in Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati and Suri areas of Birbhum seat, leaving several people injured and disrupting the polling process for a quite some time.
(With agency inputs)