West Bengal

Volunteer forces won’t be involved in Bengal polls

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora   | Photo Credit: PIB

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday said that civic police volunteer force and green police volunteer force will not be involved in any election related work in West Bengal Assembly polls.

Civic police and green police are a volunteer force raised by the State government on a contractual basis and helps the police in traffic and law and order management.

“Several political parties have raised concern about something called civic police. We have not heard this word before… We have asked assurance from Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police that there shall be no civic police anywhere near any action related to the polling,” Mr Arora said.

No motorbike rallies

He also added that the Commission will formally pass an order that there will no motorbike rallies in the State during the elections. Motorbike rallies have often been accused by political parties and people of targeting political opponents.

Speaking to media persons after holding meeting with representatives of political parties and senior officials of the State government the Chief Election Commissioner said most parties raised concerns about the law-and-order situation.

“I don’t believe that any political party is using manpower or muscle power to influence the voter but I will definitely deploy central forces as much as possible,” he said. On the issue under whose directions will the central forces work Mr Arora said that the central forces have a strict reporting structure and it more about co-ordination between different agencies than control.

The Chief Election Commissioner set aside allegations raised by Bhartiya Janata Party that Rohingyas have been included in voter list and also rejected allegations by the Trinamool Congress that the Border Security Force (BSF) is intimidating people to vote for a particular party in the border areas.

While Mr Arora said that there is no such evidence of Rohingya in the voter list he also added that he BSF is not involved in influencing anyone. Rubbishing BJP’s claim that Rohingyas in large numbers are in the voter list because the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) had allegedly given them citizenship, Arora said that there is no such evidence in the list. “BSF is one of the finest forces. It is unfortunate that the TMC had made such averments about the security personnel. I have asked for concrete instances,” Mr Arora said.

Highlighting on the arrangements for polling during ongoing pandemic situation, Mr Arora said the number of polling booths in the State have been increased. “Earlier West Bengal had 78,903 polling stations. Now the state has 1, 01,790 polling stations. All polling stations shall be at the ground floor level,” he said.

Asked about instances of violence report in the State the Chief Electoral Commissioner said that prior to model code of conduct being enforced the Election Commission of India has no right under the law to interfere except seeking reports and getting feedback.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 1:54:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/volunteer-forces-wont-be-involved-in-bengal-polls/article33638741.ece

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