Lok Sabha poll may go beyond five phases | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha poll may go beyond five phases

The Election Commission and the Home Ministry have failed to reach an agreement on number of central security forces that can be spared for the smooth conduct of the elections, reports Chetan Chauhan.

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2009 01:44 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Elections for the 15th Lok Sabha can extend beyond four or five phases. The Election Commission (EC) and the Home Ministry have failed to reach an agreement on number of central security forces that can be spared for the smooth conduct of the elections.

The 2004 general elections were held in four phases. The commission was considering holding 2009 elections in five phases with about 100 seats going to polls in each phase. The polls are scheduled for April-May this year. Exact dates for the elections are likely to be announced within a week. That will happen after the commission and home ministry officials hold further negotiations in the next two days to iron out their differences.

Commission officials said that they were asking for at least the same number of security forces from the Central government as deployed in 2004 general elections, if not more. Over 750 companies were deployed for the 2004 elections.

A team led by Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta met the three election commissioners on Tuesday and expressed the government’s inability to spare the forces as sought by the commission.

EC sources said home ministry officials cited heightened security threat after Mumbai terror attacks, increased Naxalite threat and insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as major reasons for not been able to spare additional forces for the elections.

The elections are expected to cost Rs 1,300 crore to the public exchequer. The EC will need 70 lakh government servants, including security forces and state government officials for the smooth conduct of polls in over seven lakh booths across the country.