An almost 50% rise in the number of polling booths in Uttar Pradesh is expected to put massive pressure on the state police during the coming assembly polls.
In 2007, the Election Commission (EC) had set up 63,000 polling centers. The number has now gone up by 30,000. “During the 2007 polls, nearly 650 companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed. Now, we have to change the security strategy,” said a senior police officer.
Elections will take place in the state in seven phases between February 4 and 28.
On Saturday, senior state police officers met officials the EC in New Delhi to discuss security strategy.
The EC has already directed district magistrates to identify the sensitive areas. The vulnerability mapping of each assembly segment would be done on basis of their report.
“The state government will have to mobilise the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and civil police personnel,” the officer said. “Extra police force will be deployed in the Naxal-hit districts and those bordering Nepal.”
For every 1,500 people, one polling centre has to be set up. According to the 2001 Census, the population of UP was 17 crore. It touched 20 crore in the 2011 Census. The number of polling centres has increased accordingly. To increase the polling percentage, the EC has directed returning officers to set up polling centres near crowded localities so voters can have easy access to booths.