Police are bracing up for security duty as many VIP visitors are expected as part of campaigning, writes R. RAJARAM

Tiruchi airport was brought under enhanced security twice within a week in the wake of transit halt of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa prior to proceeding for poll campaigns.

Anti-sabotage teams of the city police and men in plainclothes and uniforms were positioned at the international airport well before the arrival and departure of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who comes under the Z Plus security scale protected by the elite National Security Guards (NSG).

Detailed security schemes were drawn up on both occasions for the transit visits of Ms. Jayalalithaa who upon landing here boarded a chopper to Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, and Chidambaram to canvass in support of her party candidates in the run up to the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

With election fever having set in, Tiruchi and its neighbouring districts is expected to witness VIP visits in the coming days to garner support for their respective party candidates, thus setting the stage for high voltage campaigns ahead of the elections.

Police sources say Ms. Jayalalithaa’s visit is expected on two more occasions — one to campaign in Tiruchi city and the other in neighbouring Perambalur and Karur constituencies next month.

With the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam having announced its list of candidates, its star campaigner and party treasurer M.K. Stalin, under security cover, is poised to visit Tiruchi and its neighbouring constituencies soon.

If the BJP and the Congress were to contest from Tiruchi or its neighbouring constituencies, there is a high possibility of campaigns by one of its top rung leaders, say party sources here.

Vested with the responsibility of providing security and maintaining order, law enforcers say security cover is provided as per scale to the VIP or VVIP concerned based on threat perceptions and in accordance with guidelines. Police agencies have classified the security scale under “X”, “Y”, “Z”, and “Z Plus”.

Ms. Jayalalithaa and former Chief Minister Karunanidhi fall under the ‘Z Plus’ category with NSG cover in addition to escort given by State Security Branch CID personnel. Mr. Stalin, who is under the ‘Z’ category, is provided with Central Reserve Police Force cover.

In view of the polls, senior police officers were sensitised to VIP security and threat perceptions at separate meetings conducted in Madurai and Puducherry recently.

Certain guidelines have been laid down for police personnel for strict adherence. One among them is to video and audio record speeches of important political speakers without fail.

Treating all political parties alike without any bias and immediate action upon receipt of information regarding distribution of money and liquor to the electorate which is forbidden and its seizure form part of the long list of instructions.

Police stations have been asked to maintain a “forecast” register on campaigns by important political personalities besides an “incident register” to note down the occurrences, say police sources.