KOLKATA: The opposition parties in West Bengal, in a meeting with the Election Commission of India full bench Thursday, demanded heavy deployment of central forces in the state during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to ensure a free and fair election.
The political parties also demanded that the central forces should not be kept under the control of state police officials as "they act as per orders of the TMC leaders".
The full bench of the ECI, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, met representatives of various political parties here.
Besides leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), those of opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress called on the ECI's top bosses at a five-star hotel in central Kolkata.
"We demanded heavy deployment of central forces to ensure free and fair polls. They should be deployed in each and every booth of the state and the central forces should not be under the control of the district police.
Those police officials act as per the orders of TMC leaders," BJP delegation leader Mukul Roy said. The BJP has also demanded that fake voters in the electoral rolls be identified and their names removed.
It also demanded that a senior IAS officer from outside the state be appointed as a chief state observer to oversee and supervise the functioning of the chief electoral officer.
"We have also demanded that a senior IPS officer from outside the state be appointed the chief police observer to oversee and review the police deployment by the DGP and commissioners of various police commissionarates," Roy said.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee, who led the party's delegation at a meeting with the EC, said the party spoke on several issues and the ECI full bench assured that it would look into the suggestions.
He, however, did not elaborate.
The CPI(M) submitted various statistics of violence which marred last year's panchayat polls in the state and photographs of central forces not being used properly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"Apart from deployment of the central forces, it has to be ensured that they are used properly. We have seen in the last few elections that the central forces are not being deployed properly and are kept inside the barracks," senior CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb told reporters.
The Congress too backed the demand and said the EC should ensure that all the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines work properly.
The EC had full bench arrived here Wednesday evening to assess the preparedness for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.