With tribals being adamant that only central forces could enter Lalgarh area for the April 30 polls to Jhargram Lok Sabha seat, it was decided to move the polling booths five km away, subject to the consent of the Election Commission.
West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer Debasish Sen said it was decided to shift the booths, having nearly 40,000 voters, to Lalgarh, Bhimpur, Pirakata and Ramgarh.
“We have crossed a big hurdle. This is not final. I will recommend the decision of the tripartite meeting to the Election Commission for the final approval. If EC consent is available, the decision will be implemented,” Sen said.
Vehicles would be made available to transport the voters of Barapelia, Chhotopelia, Dalilpurchak and Khasjungle where the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities would not allow the police to enter, to the booths to be set up five km away, he said.
He was speaking after a tripartite meeting with the West Midnapore district administration, PCPA, a tribal body which is spearheading the stir in Lalgarh and adjacent areas in protest against ‘police atrocities´. PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato also took part in the meeting.
The CEO said, “We don’t want disturbances in Midnapore like in the first phase of polling in Bihar and Chhattisgarh.”