The stage is set for the third of the five-phase panchayat polls in West Bengal on Friday when the districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah, considered prone to violence, will vote.
Governor M.K. Narayanan expressed the hope that there would be “less violence” during the polls stating that the government was trying to “make more active use of the paramilitary forces” instead of just “keeping them in reserve.”
Asked whether the Central forces were not properly used during the first two phases of the rural polls which resulted in violence, Mr. Narayanan said “now they are being used.” He was talking to the media on the sidelines of an event.
Along with the usual deployment of the 50,000 security forces, which comprises 15,000 personnel from the Central armed police forces and rest from the State, the Centre had sent an additional 45 companies of forces, an official of the State Election Commission said.
The Commission issued alerts of the possibility of violence in specific areas in the three districts to the district officials. Six persons were arrested on Thursday following an incident in which bombs were hurled at the car of an election observer at Amdanga in the State’s South 24 Parganas district. About 99 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in about 12, 656 booths in the three districts.