Monday, June 17, 2024

Bengal SEC seeks 800 central force companies for panchayat polls

The West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday succumbed to Calcutta Court’s orders and sought 800 additional companies of central armed forces for the smooth conduct of the July 8 panchayat polls in the state.

In total, the SEC has sought 822 companies which is equivalent to around 82,200 central forces personnel.

As per the order of the division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, at least 82,000 central armed forces should be deployed in the state for the rural civic body polls.

Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, before leaving for Patna to attend the grand opposition meeting on Friday, said that although she will abide by the decision of the SEC, she still feels that the state police are smarter than any other police force in the entire country.

“Let as much of the central armed forces be deployed… But their strength will not surely be more than the number of voters. At the end of the day, the common people will vote. The people will have the final word and we will win,” the Chief Minister said.

Leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the deployment of 82,000 forces is not strictly comparable to the same figures deployed in 2013.

“In 2023, the panchayat polls were conducted in five phases. But now it will be held in a single phase. So the extent of deployment is not the factor. The factor is effective utilisation of the central armed forces to ensure free and fair polls,” he said.

The BJP leader also said that keeping the past actions of the SEC in the deployment of central armed forces in mind, doubts on effective utilisation of the forces is bound to continue.

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