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Police, EC still undecided over sensitive polling booths

Faizan Haidar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 13, 2013
First Published: 01:31 IST(13/10/2013) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(13/10/2013)

The Delhi Police and Election Commission have failed to list out sensitive and hypersensitive booths for the upcoming elections in Delhi. Several meetings have taken place between the two agencies, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

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According to sources in the Delhi Police, election commission has sent them a list of over 1,000 sensitive and hypersensitive booths, they want the commission to bring the number down to 600. The reason: More sensitive booths require more police presence.

In the 2008 assembly elections, the police had identified 1,218 sensitive and 346 hypersensitive polling booths. The commission does not want change that number, but the Delhi Police have said that they will be occupied with security during the festive season and that a lot has changed in five years.

There will be a total of 11,763 polling booths in Delhi for the elections, polling for which will be held on December 4.

“It is the police’s job to maintain law and order. We are the best judge of a area being sensitive or not,” said a senior Delhi Police officer.

The Delhi election commission’s list of sensitive booths keeps in mind not just the law and order situation of an area but also its social equations — where communities can be targeted and forced to vote for a particular candidate.

Sensitive booths are identified on various parameters which include population of the area and whether there was any violence in that area during the last elections.

Over 40,000 Delhi Police personnel will be deployed across the Capital and nearly 20,000 personnel from paramilitary forces will help them in ensuring a free and fair polls in the city.

The Union home ministry has also held a meeting with other states, asking them to give details of the number of security personnel to be sent for the conduct of elections.

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