Dearth of forces may extend poll period
The elections for 15th Lok Sabha may be extended beyond four to five phases as the Election Commission and Home Ministry have failed to reach an agreement on number of security forces deployed for each phase.
Sources said the Commission officials were asking for at least the same number of security forces from the Central government as were deployed in 2004 general elections. Over 750 companies were deployed in the 2004 elections.
However, the Home Ministry — whose officials led by secretary Madhukar Gupta met the three elections commissioners on Wednesday — has expressed the government’s inability to spare the forces as sought by the Commission.
Sources in the Commission said heightened security threat after the Mumbai terror attacks, expansion of Naxal areas since 2004 elections and insurgency-related issues in J&K and North-East were cited as major reasons for not been able to provide adequate security forces for elections.
Around 100 seats will be going to polls in each phase to be held in April-May this year. But exact dates for elections are expected to be announced within a week after the Commission and Home ministry officials hold next round of negotiations to iron out the differences.
“We have had a detailed discussion about the force requirement. So, now it’s up to the Election Commission,” said Gupta, who was accompanied by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Raman Shrivastav on Tuesday.
The Commission also held discussions with Defence secretary Vijay Singh to find whether armed forces can spare personnel for the polls.
Mumbai is witnessing heavy rain for a fourth straight day on Thursday, though the situation is much better today with no major incident of waterlogging reported till now. However, a two-hour emergency block, the timings of which are yet to be announced, will be performed by Central Railway and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to remove the balance portion of a wall, after a part of the structure collapsed on tracks near Masjid railway station.
A spread of lip-smacking food was laid out for Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann's wedding function in Chandigarh. A food menu of the function, obtained by news agency ANI, showed that guests at the wedding were served the best of Indian cuisine including Karahi Paneer, Tandoori Kulche, Dal Makhani, Navratan Biryani, Mausami Subzian. They also got to devour some Italian dishes including the Lasagna Siciliano. This is Bhagwant Mann's second marriage.
A communal clash that broke out in Karnataka's Kerur was due to 'personal issues' between the two sides, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Thursday, a day after violence erupted in the town over alleged eve-teasing. The situation in Kerur continues to be peaceful but tense, and a total of 18 people – from both the Hindu and Muslim communities – have been arrested. Overall, at least four people were injured in the clashes.
In a tragic incident, three people working in a chowmein factory in Gajapati district of Odisha died of asphyxiation on Wednesday night after they went to sleep while keeping the chowmein dryer machine turned on. Police officials in Gajapati said the three workers in the chowmein factory at Narayan Nagar of Mohana area had gone to sleep after putting the soggy chowmein noodles to dry in the chowmein dryer machine.
The Hebbal flyover in Bengaluru - known for its traffic congestion - has finally been picked up by city authorities, who have come out with a fresh set of rules. The advisory was announced by the Bangalore Traffic Police. The same goes for vehicles coming from KR Puram, Road and Tumakuru Road. Vehicles traveling on the airport road flyover can join the Hebbal flyover as usual.