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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Security a red or green herring?

Joydeep Thakur, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 05, 2013
First Published: 23:48 IST(5/7/2013) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(5/7/2013)

Security - or the lack of it - holds the key to the West Bengal panchayat polls. It was not surprising that it led a huge legal battle. While the state held out as long as it could on its demand for deploying the state police, the state election commission pressed for central forces.

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The government bargained for forces from neighbouring states and, as expected, got none from its eleventh-hour request. And when the state finally capitulated, the Centre failed to send paramilitary forces, citing the need for a renewed push to control the Maoists in the wake of the May 25 Chhattisgarh massacre.

After three months, the SC had the final say: Panchayat polls cannot be held without central armed forces.

Pre-poll violence has already claimed a dozen lives. But the new arrangement is expected to be better. The first and second phases will have 15,000 central forces, around 25,000 in the third and fourth phases.


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