Taking note of unabated political violence in poll-bound West Bengal, Election Commission on Thursday decided to make an independent assessment of the law and order situation in the State.

A team of five senior police officers, led by the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, is being sent to the State to make a first-hand assessment of the situation there, the EC said in a press note.

The team will visit different districts of the State immediately and make an on-the-spot assessment and submit a report to the Commission.

The decision to send a team has been taken following representations from several political parties, who met the EC officials here and in Kolkata recently, and media reports on the issue.

“Maintenance of law and order is crucial to the conduct of free and fair and peaceful election,” it said.

Noting that Assembly polls to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry were due by May-June, the EC said it was taking all necessary measures, including keeping a watch on the law and order situation in these States.

Meanwhile, a report from Kolkata said that a six-member team of special EC observers would arrive on Monday.

The report quoting State Home Secretary G.D. Gautama said that the State government, at its meeting with the EC last week, had sought deployment of 800 companies (80000 personnel) of central forces during the assembly elections in the State.

The State has been witnessing a spate of violence in the past few months, including violence by Maoists and intra-party clashes between Trinamool Congress and the Left parties.

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