Lok Sabha polls: 100 central forces companies arrive in WB; 50 more next week | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha polls: 100 central forces companies arrive in WB; 50 more next week

Mar 01, 2024 04:06 PM IST

Around 100 CAPF companies arrived in West Bengal, with more expected ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Deployment started amid political row over law and order.

Kolkata: Around 100 companies of the central armed police forces (CAPF) arrived in West Bengal on Friday, with 50 more expected to arrive on March 7 ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, officials aware of the matter said.

At least 150 companies of CAPF are expected to arrive in the state in first week of March (File Photo)
At least 150 companies of CAPF are expected to arrive in the state in first week of March (File Photo)

The elections commission on Wednesday announced that at least 150 companies of CAPF are expected to arrive in the state in the first week of March.

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“Deployment of central forces has started in West Bengal. They will start confidence-building measures in the localities. More are scheduled to arrive in the coming days,” said a poll panel official.

According to officials, three to seven companies would be stationed in each of the districts and at least 10 companies would be stationed in Kolkata.

Five companies would be stationed in Basirhat amid the Sandeshkhali unrest which has been on the boil since February 7 with protests erupting against multiple local ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders over allegations of sexual assault and land grabbing, a senior poll panel official said.

Six companies would be stationed in East Midnapore, which is considered to be a stronghold of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Suvendu Adhikari and his family, said the official.

“While seven companies each would be stationed in Malda and East Midnapore, Asansol-Durgapur will receive six companies, Basirhat and West Midnapore will receive five companies each, Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum will get four companies each,” the official added.

The deployment started on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the state. Modi in West Bengal is scheduled to address two public gatherings in Hooghly and Nadia districts and inaugurate numerous projects over the next two days.

Meanwhile, the deployment of central forces even before the announcement of poll dates triggered a political row.

Speaking to the media, TMC vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar said, “For the first time central forces are being deployed even before the ECI announced the poll dates. The Model Code of Conduct hasn’t come into force. I am not sure who would control the central forces in this situation.”

The BJP shot back, saying that this shows how alarming the law and order situation is in the state.

“This is probably the first that central forces have been sent to a state before the polls were announced. Looting of ballots and threats to voters by the ruling party in rampant and post-poll violence are rampant here. The situation is alarming, and the ECI is concerned. Democracy has been slaughtered here. Hence the deployment of central forces was necessary to build confidence among the people,” said Bengal BJP leader Rahul Sinha.

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