Two Indian Air Force helicopters and more than 58,000 security personnel would be deployed to ensure free and fair polling in the six sensitive and porous border districts of Bihar that go to poll on May 12.
Campaigning ended on Saturday in Valmikinagar, Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Vaishali, Gopalganj and Siwan, the last to vote in the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections. The Bihar government has made elaborate security arrangements in these constituencies bordering Nepal -- 142 companies of Central Para-Military Forces, 74 companies of Border Military Police, 26,761 personnel of district armed police and 9,318 homeguards are being deployed for this purpose, said chief secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha in Patna.
There are reports suggesting Maoists, fresh from recent attacks during elections in Sukma (Chhattisgarh), Dumka (Jharkhand) and Aurangabad (Bihar), might try to do the same in these constituencies. "We have made special security arrangements in left-wing extremism (LWE) affected constituencies to ensure vulnerable sections are able to cast their votes fearlessly," said Sinha.
Seven contingents of mounted police, 36 motor boats and 307 motorcycle-borne policemen would patrol the diara and riverine (river catchment) areas to keep trouble-makers at bay, he added.
Of the 36 assembly constituencies in this phase, five -- Valmikinagar and Ramnagar in Valmikinagar parliamentary constituency and Minapur, Paru and Sahebganj in Vaishali -- are LWE-affected, said Bihar additional chief electoral officer R Lakshmanan at a separate media briefing.
The poll timing in LWE-affected constituencies would be from 7am to 4pm while at other places voting would continue till 6pm, he added.
International borders between India and Nepal would be sealed two days prior to polls till elections are over. Inter-state border movement would also be restricted.
In Motihari, Bihar DGP Abhayanand directed the SPs to take all possible measures to ensure free and fair polling. "The paramilitary forces along with state armed police have already been asked to conduct area domination exercises before the start of polling and keep the area sanitised till the last ballot is cast and all election teams return safely to their base camps with the EVM machines," a senior official said.