Bengal seeking additional forces from other states for panchayat polls

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Kolkata, April 27 (IANS) West Bengal Police has contacted four or five other states to ask for additional forces to be sent for the state panchayat polls on May 14, state Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha said on Friday.

He claimed that the state has made “adequate” security arrangement for conducting the rural polls in a single phase.

“We have contacted four or five other states for additional forces on the polling day that can fully back up our forces so that the booths can be properly guarded.The security arrangement for the panchayat polls is adequate. There will armed coverage in all the polling premises,” Purkayastha told reporters here.

“We want the election process to take place peacefully. We are appealing to everyone for their cooperation in this regard,” he added.

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Opposition parties slammed the West Bengal government and State Election Commission for deciding to conduct the rural polls in one day, claiming that the state does not have adequate police personnel to ensure security in around 58,000 polling booths across the state.

The state government has informed the SEC that about 58,000 armed police personnel are available while around 2,000 armed personnel from the Prison and Forest Departments can also be deployed.

The elections were earlier slated to be held in three phases on May 1, 3 and 5 but the schedule was pushed back after the Calcutta High Court stayed the polling process on petitions moved by the opposition parties, who complained that they were not allowed to file nominations allegedly by armed miscreants owing allegiance to the ruling Trinamool Congress.

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–IANS

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