3 W Bengal districts to go to polls today
The ballot troops are here ? armed to the teeth ? and determined to let fair play prevail.india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 03:35 IST
The ballot troops are here — armed to the teeth — and determined to let fair play prevail. Three districts of West Bengal — Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura, will go to the polls on Monday amid a boycott whip by the Maoists and arguably the most elaborate security arrangement ever made for an assembly election.
Forty-five seats are up for grabs in the three Maoist strongholds and the fate of 227 candidates hangs in balance.
Of the 45 constituencies that go to polls on Monday, 21 are in West Midnapore, 11 in Purulia and 13 in Bankura. With central forces pouring in by the hour, the area resembles a fortress.
The election commission has pulled out all stops to stop rigging. “There will be four polling officials in each booth this time instead of three. The fourth will be checking the photo identity cards.
In addition, the EC has deployed paramilitary forces who will conduct the elections and maintain law and order on behalf of the state police force. The borders of the districts going for the polls have been virtually sealed," a senior EC official said in Kolkata on Sunday. About 3000 digital cameras have also reached the districts.
Deputy election commissioner Anand Kumar personally flew down to Purulia town from Midnapore, to have a high-level meeting with the district magistrate Mukul Sarkar and police super R Shivkumar.
"We are keeping a closer watch on the Naxalite prone areas by deploying more number of forces there. Moreover, two helicopters would be constantly flying over the risk zones to keep vigil," he said.
Security was tightened after Maoist guerrillas stopped a tanker at Barikul in Bankura on its way to supply drinking water at Bhulabheda camp where a company of BSF jawans is housed.
Left Front Chairman Biman Basu urged all voters to exercise their franchise without any fear.