Not enough forces to man booths: DMs tell poll panel
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THE district administration of 18 districts on Saturday informed the State Election Commission that they don't have adequate armed police force to deploy at the booths during the panchayat polls. It is learnt that State Election Commissioner Meera Pandey instructed the police chiefs of all the districts to deploy at least two armed police personnel in every booth, but the district administration told her that it won't be possible.
Pandey held a meeting with the DMs and SPs of 18 districts in Kolkata today in two batches. "Pandey asked the all the officials to submit the details of the police arrangements in every district. Most of the district administration officers have today appeared to be blank on the issue," said a senior official of the Commission.
Significantly, the Commission wants Central forces deployed in the districts during the panchayat elections, though the state government is firm on conducting the polls with the help of state armed police.
Meanwhile, after the meeting with the state election commissioner got over, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee summoned all the DMs and SPs to the Writers' Buildings. Banerjee held meting with all the officials. A senior official said, "The meeting was not scheduled. But the Chief Minister wanted to know about the arrangements in the districts and what the election commission has asked for."
However, Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra told the mediapersons that the Chief Minister held the meeting with the DMs and SPs to review the security arrangements for the Holi.
Govt refuses to blink, says firm on two-phase poll
The state government stuck to its decision on holding the panchayat election in two phases despite the State Election Commission's recommendation of a three-phase poll under Central forces. "We stick to two-phase panchayat polls," said Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee. To a question regarding deployment of forces, he said, "We proposed to bring in police forces from other states to provide adequate security during the elections," and added that the government is "confident of conducting the polls by deputing armed police in every polling booth".