With the ruling alliance partners, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at loggerheads and Tarn Taran having already seen a clash between workers of the two parties on February 10, the town has emerged as probably the most sensitive among those going to the polls in Punjab.
The police are taking no chances and security has been beefed up. Polling to elect a new municipal council will be held on February 25.
The border town is already witnessing considerable deployment of security personnel and flag marches by cops to reassure voters that the situation is under control.
Apart from about 2,000 cops of the Tarn Taran police, additional companies and battalions of the Anti-Rioting Police (ARP), Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and additional force from the border range have been deployed.
With lawlessness a major issue in Tarn Taran and Akalis pitted against BJP candidates, uneasy calm prevails in this town.
Ties between the two parties worsened recently after BJP minister Anil Joshi alleged that his brother Raja Joshi was attacked by Akali workers. Subsequently, a poster war between the alliance partners has seen plenty of mudslinging.
Terming Tarn Taran as the most sensitive town in the upcoming polls, inspector general (IG, border range), Ishwar Chander said, “We have ensured additional deployment of security to avoid any clash in the run-up to the polls or on the polling day.”
Apart from the Tarn Taran police personnel, we have pressed into service 100 men each of the ARP and the PAP, and 200 cops and five officers from other districts of the border range, the IG added.
When asked if there was any chance of more deployment, he said, “We are keeping a close eye on the developments. As soon as the Tarn Taran SSP demands more force, we will do the needful.”