Around 60,000 paramilitary personnel are likely to be deployed during next year's West Bengal Assembly elections which are expected to be "highly volatile".
As the Centre is yet to take a decision on Trinamool Congress' demand for withdrawal of central forces from Maoist dominated Lalgarh, Home Ministry officials feel that more forces will have to be deployed before and during the Assembly polls in the state scheduled to be held in March-April.
"There could be inter-party clashes, political violence and other poll-related incidents. We estimate that around 60,000 central security personnel will be required to conduct the West Bengal Assembly elections which will be highly volatile," an official said.
The Trinamool Congress had recently alleged that there were 59 armed camps in West Bengal that were being operated by the Marxists and that armed cadres will be used during the Assembly polls, a charge vehemently denied by the ruling CPI-M.
Home Minister P Chidambaram too had admitted that there were armed cadres in camps in some parts of the state. As anti-Maoist operations in the state's three western districts - Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore - are going on, the Centre has not been able to take a decision on TC's demand for withdraw of the central forces from the Maoist-dominated Lalgarh area.
The second largest constituent of UPA has been demanding that the Central and the state police forces should be withdrawn as the ruling Left Front cadres and forces were "committing atrocities" in the name of tackling Maoists.
Early this month, two Union ministers from the Trinamool -- Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy -- had met Chidambaram and reiterated the demand for the withdrawal of central forces from West Bengal. Hitting back, the Left Front has claimed that Trinamool's repeated demand to pull out joint forces from Lalgarh and Jangalmahal areas was a trick to facilitate Maoist control in these areas in West Midnapore district.
The operation by the joint forces comprising West Bengal Police and the Central paramilitary forces started in Lalgarh in June 2009 to flush out Maoists from that area.