In a break from the past, there will be maximum deployment of Central paramilitary forces at the polling stations in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha elections. The six-phase elections for the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State begin on April 10, when polling would be held in 10 seats of western Uttar Pradesh.

The decision on the Central forces was taken by the Election Commission, which held a two-day review meeting of poll preparations in the State on Thursday and Friday. Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said on Friday that the Commission would ensure that the personnel were deployed effectively to ensure free and fair elections.

Over 1 lakh booths

The number of polling stations in the State for the 2014 election is 1.40 lakh.

Mr. Sampath, who was accompanied by Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and Naseem Zaidi, told reporters that strict instructions had been given to the District Magistrates and the district police chiefs to maintain utmost neutrality in their conduct. Directives had been given to bar the entry of unauthorised persons into the booths. Sensitive or critical polling stations would be identified and kept under close vigil.

The poll panel’s decision on deployment of Central forces follows complaints from representatives of political parties that the deployment of only the State police and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) gave undue advantage to the ruling party.

Opposition parties felt that deployment of State police gave undue advantage to the ruling party