Ahead of the crucial third phase of polling in West Bengal, a tight security ring of one lakh security personnel, including 75,000 central paramilitary personnel, has been deployed all over the state. Election Commission officials said close to 700 companies of central armed police forces, comprising around 75,000 men, have taken their positions.
As per instructions, they are doing route marches as part of an area domination exercise to instill confidence among voters. Assisting these 75,000 paramilitary personnel, who are not conversant with the local language or geography, there will be a contingent of 25,000-strong state police personnel.
All polling premises will be guarded by central forces while ‘lathi’-wielding state personnel, who understand local language, will facilitate queue management. Officials said state police will be allowed to enter the booth only under extreme cases when the presiding officer seeks so.
Similarly for every mobile unit of central forces, one state police person will be assisting them in travel. Officials said increased availability of security forces has been made possible as jawans, who were deployed in Assam where voting has ended, have now been shifted to West Bengal.
To increase the visibility of paramilitary personnel, a flex has been put on the vehicles clearly stating ‘Central Forces’. Additionally a hooter or siren has also been placed on their vehicles.