The Centre will deploy around 1,700 companies of paramilitary forces in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Goa, and Manipur, officials said.
Over 100 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have already arrived in Uttar Pradesh for area domination in various districts of the state, they said.
According to the officials of the Union Home Ministry, it, in coordination with the Election Commission and UP government, has allocated 150 companies (each containing around 100 personnel) of the paramilitary forces as of now and additional companies will be deployed subsequently as there is seven-phase polling in the state and the total deployment could be over 380 to 400 companies.
UP government officials said that they have been assured by the Ministry of adequate additional deployment for the next phases.
As of now, 50 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, 30 each from the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal, and 20 each from the Central Industrial Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been allocated to UP as of now, Ministry officials said, adding that the rest will be dispatched as the polling schedule progresses.
Punjab has also sought higher security deployment, being a border state and also due to ongoing farmers’ agitation in many parts of the state. Over 450 companies of CAPFs were deployed in the last Assembly election in 2017.
The MHA officials have indicated that around 550 companies will be dispatched to Punjab initially and additional personnel sent as per need.
Among the CAPFs, the CRPF will be the largest contributor, and will also be the nodal force for their deployment.
As per the information, the BSF will send 66 companies for UP, 32 for Punjab, 12 for Manipur, and six for Uttarkhand while the CISF has been asked to send 150 companies and 50 have already been dispatched to five states and the rest will be dispatched in a phased manner as per the election schedule, the officials said, adding that the other forces are yet to share details.
The CAPFs have also been asked to keep substantial companies on standby in view of the rising number of Covid cases in the third wave, a senior official in the security forces said. He also said that the entire unit will be withdrawn from the poll duties if any of its personnel are detected Covid positive.
The state government has also been asked to arrange spacious premises for central security personnel during the poll duty and also set polling booths in larger premises so that Covid protocols could be followed properly, the officials added.
All eligible troopers getting deputed for election duty in the five states, have been administered booster doses and have also been asked to wear masks, use sanitisers and maintain social distancing while performing their duties, the CAPFs officials said.