State chopper watch on PW, MCC areas

PTI | By, Kolkata
May 01, 2004 08:57 PM IST

The Govt has sought EC's permission to use Air Force helicopters for aerial surveillance of MCC and PW strongholds in the state.

The government has sought the Election Commission’s permission to use Air Force helicopters for aerial surveillance of MCC and PW strongholds in the state during and ahead of the Lok Sabha polls on May 10. Incidentally, both PW and MCC have called for a poll boycott.

HT Image
HT Image

The choppers would fly sorties over the dense forests under the four police stations of Belpahari, Binpur, Ranibandh and Bandwan in West Midnapore, Panskura and Purulia, chief secretary Asok Gupta said. They would also fly polling material and personnel to these extremist-infested areas. The Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand governments too had used helicopters for similar jobs during the April 20 and April 26 phases of polling, he added.

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Meanwhile, chief election commissioner (CEC) T.S. Krishnamurthy said today that the EC had drafted personnel from other states for poll duty in Bengal only after ‘assessing the ground realities’. Denying any prejudice against Bengal, the CEC said similar steps had been taken for Assam and Jammu & Kashmir. “There is no need to be agitated. Bengal is not being discriminated against. Only 2000 of the two lakh polling personnel will be from outside the state. This is less than one per cent,” he told a press conference at Raj Bhavan.

But he refused to say if the situation in Bengal was anywhere near as bad as in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. He also declined say whether he was convinced of the neutrality of the state administration. “I haven’t come here to give certificates. My job is to ensure a free and fair poll,” he said.

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