The Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for ensuring security in the Lok Sabha polls, will seek the service of the Indian Air Force and Border Security Force choppers for swift movement of troops during the nine-phase polls in April and May.
MHA officials said Central forces deployment and casualty evacuation in several troubled regions such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and certain parliamentary constituencies in northeastern states will be heavily dependent on the availability of choppers.
Citing an incident during the 2009 polls, a senior official said three personnel had died due to delay in chopper’s deployment for casualty evacuation and forces would like to avoid such a situation. “We wanted only two-phase polls in the northeast but the six seats in Assam will have three-phase elections, which require additional forces in the region. We have asked for more than 10 choppers from the IAF and BSF for the elections, to move the troops ahead of polls in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” the official added.
Although MoS for Home R P N Singh said the best security arrangements will be made available for the upcoming elections, a senior official said it would be an uphill task to move the forces in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, which will have three-phase polls.
The EC said the Central forces will be used for protecting polling stations, electors and polling personnel.