Playing along with the West Bengal government, the home ministry has reversed its stand on sending central forces for the state panchayat polls. On Tuesday, the ministry insisted the Centre could not spare additional forces.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had last week declared that he had asked chief minister Mamata Banerjee to send a formal proposal for additional forces. “I have already instructed home secretary to give the forces,” the home minister had said on June 11.
Soon, the home ministry had started working on a plan to send 40-50 companies of central forces.
But on Tuesday, a senior home ministry official said there was neither any need to send the forces nor a formal request from the state government was received.
“We do not provide Central forces to any state. These are local bodies’ polls,” an official in ministry said, adding all central forces except the training reserves – maintained to give personnel a break from active duty and train – were deployed.
Forty-two companies of central police forces are deployed in the state for anti-naxal operations.