Almost half of polling stations in Bengal sensitive

Saturday, January 8, 2011

KOLKATA - Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S.Y. Quraishi Saturday expressed concern over the violence in West Bengal and declared almost half of the 51,991 polling stations for the upcoming assembly polls as sensitive.

“After doing the vulnerability mapping we have identified around 25,000 polling stations as sensitive. The sensitive booths are spread across 19 districts,” said Quraishi here in a media conference, after meeting political parties and government officials.

He admitted that all the political parties expressed concern about the rising cases of political violence, circulation of illegal arms and ammunition and the presence of armed camps in several parts of the state.

“We will review the situation with senior state officers. We are doing our job meticulously,” he said.

Late in the evening, the CEC discussed law and order issues with top officials, besides matters like filling up of vacant posts of police officers.

He said the Election Commission was “very concerned” about the law and order situation.

“We have told the officials to conduct searches and seize all illegal arms,” he said.

On being asked whether the commission was convinced about the presence of camps of armed cadres, he said: “We are not acknowledging or denying anything. The allegations have been raised and we are trying to find out about it.”

The CEC said central forces will be deployed for carrying out operations for search and seizure of illegal arms in West Bengal.

“We have been holding discussions with the union home ministry for the past four months,” he said.

Refusing to comment on the schedule for the elections, Quraishi said that although many parties had raised the demand for early elections, a decision on the dates for the elections will be taken in due course.

Filed under: Politics

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