KOLKATA: The Election Commission (EC) decided to deploy central forces at 80 per cent of over 5,000 booths in three Lok Sabha constituencies in state where voting will be held on April 18. The decision was taken after Opposition parties complained of malpractice in the absence of Central forces at polling booths during the first phase of polls in West Bengal in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar in North Bengal.
The second phase of polls will cover 5,390 booths and an additional 113 companies of Central forces will join the existing troops on the ground.
A total of 194 companies will be deployed overall. According to an EC official, authorities had initially decided to deploy Central forces at only 55 per cent of the booths in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj seats. The remaining 20 per cent of the booths will be manned by the state armed police and assisted by CCTVs cameras, webcasting videography and micro observers, said an Election Commission official.