After the heavy deployment during the Ayodhya verdict and later during ongoing Commonwealth Games (CWG), police forces are back on their toes in light of the Panchayat polls that started on Monday.
So far, police officials have identified around 47 candidates from Ghaziabad who have relatives with strong criminal backgrounds who could resort to violence during the elections. Fearing poll rigging, violation of the model code of conduct, distribution of cash and liquor, the police have taken a number of preventive actions to ensure a peaceful election.
Elections are being held for Gram-Panchayat members, Gram-Pradhan, Block Development Council (BDC) and Member Zila-Panchayat in eight blocks of the district.
At least 266 polling stations have been classified as highly sensitive while 174 others have been identified as sensitive stations. Heavy armed police and PAC personnel have been deployed at these stations to prevent any untoward incident. Around 24 village areas near NH-24 and NH-58 have also been declared as highly sensitive.
Meanwhile, the police have identified nearly 47 candidates with criminal backgrounds. Y.S. Bata, who has at least two-dozen cases against him, has fielded his wife Neetu Singh from Salaha area for the current polls. Zakir Pradhan from Nahali area, with 18 criminal cases against him, has fielded his wife Famisa Begum. Sahid, another criminal fighting 15 cases, has also supported his wife to contest elections from Bhojpur block. The examples are numerous.
"These people have fielded their wives or brothers for the elections and are themselves involved in criminal cases ranging from murders, to kidnapping and dacoity to robbery and attempt-to-murder," SSP Raghubir Lal said.
SSP stated that police officials have tracked down the criminal elements and "their movements are also being tracked."