The state and Kolkata Police have been pulled out of polling stations few days before election commences in the state.
The reason – all the polling stations would be manned by central paramilitary forces.
The Election Commission (EC) has decided that the state and city police would be deployed 200 metres far from the polling stations.
The Opposition often allege that the ruling party with the help of state and city police involved in election malpractice such as rigging, letting proxy voters enter and re-enter polling stations.
In 2006 assembly poll, the state and city police were stationed 100 metres away from the polling premises while in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, they jointly manned the polling stations during the election days. This year, the police will be engaged for law and order duty and sector patrolling.
“They will guide the central forces in reaching a particular place during any law and order trouble.
“The police have been asked to maintain area domination with the help of the central forces,” said NK Sahana, deputy chief electoral officer.
“The police will not be allowed to check voters’ identity card outside the polling booth. We will be doing area patrol only,” said Ujjwal Roy, officer in-charge, Topsia police station.
In the case of state police, a home guard carrying lathi would be deployed at polling booths to assist the central forces in maintaining voters’ queue. “Other officers, starting from assistant sub-inspector, would be stationed outside polling stations, engaged in various patrolling duties along with the central forces,” said Ranveer Kumar, inspector general (North Bengal).
EC’s decision of not deploying police inside the polling stations may give some relief to the Opposition.
The election custodian is leaving no stone unturned to make the polls free and fair from every respect.