Ahead of polling on Thursday, authorities have deployed 18,000 security personnel in Ghaziabad district for the peaceful conduct of the election process. The security personnel include police officials and para military forces. District Magistrate Ritu Maheswari said 212 sector magistrates 29 zonal magistrates and 11 super zonal magistrates will be on duty to during the polling.
Forty-six polling stations have been identified as "vulnerable" and 174 polling stations as "critical". On all these polling stations stringent security measures have been taken, the official said. After the model code of conduct came into effect, police have recovered Rs 27.23 lakh in cash, 98.475 kg gold, 2.5 kg silver and 78 kg psychotropic substance during special drives, he said.
In Ghaziabad, the BJP is banking on issues of development and national security as it takes on the infallible SP-BSP-RLD combine, where a resurgent Congress in urban areas has made it a keen contest. Spread over Loni, Muradnagar, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad and Dhaulana assembly segments, the constituency has 27 lakh voters, up from the 23 lakh in 2014 when the Bharatiya Janata Party's V K Singh rode high on the "Modi wave" and won with a thumping majority.
The former Army chief, who was labelled as an "outsider" because of his Haryana origin and still fighting that tag, had raked in 7.58 lakh votes, 56 per cent of the total votes polled. He alone had pulled nearly two lakh more votes than the 14 other candidates and NOTA combined.
Among the 12 candidates in the fray are the Singh (67), Congress' Dolly Sharma (33), an MBA with political lineage; and the Samajwadi Party's Suresh Bansal (70), a former MLA backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party.
The BJP is counting on the extension of the metro rail line, the work on NH-24, opening a domestic terminal at the Hindon airport.