KOLKATA: The full bench of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday asked the additional DGP (law and order) Gyanwant Singh, who is also the nodal officer of the state, to execute all pending non-bailable arrest warrants by the end of this month.
In a meeting with the ECI, Singh said the police were able to execute nearly 12,000 warrants out of the pending 50,000 in the last four days. The commission also wanted Singh to contain violence before the announcement of the election dates, a source in the ECI said.
"Singh, however, reasoned that because of COVID and Amphan, there was some problem in executing the pending warrants and assured that they will be executed soon. Singh also submitted a list of persons with criminal antecedents who operate from the jails to the commission," the source added.
The agenda of the meeting focused on Bengal’s law and order issues as the opposition parties keep alleging about the bloodshed during the polls every year.
The full bench of the EC met the other agencies related to the election including the BSF IG and CRPF IG and discussed the issues of availability and deployment of forces. Sources said that the top election commission officials were keen to know about the volume of forces in the Junglemahal and the border areas.
“This time the forces in the Junglemahal might not be removed for the election and the commission might ask for more forces to be pumped in for the election management. As the numbers of booths have jumped from 77,247 to 1,01,733, there are indications that this time the commission might deploy approximately 25 per cent more forces compared to the last Loksabaha polls,” an official of the election commission said.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of Trinamool Congress Partha Chatterjee alleged that the BSF officers were threatening the villagers living in the bordering areas to vote for a particular party. “Today, we met the ECI officials and briefed them about such incidents. We came to know that they are threatening the villagers to vote for a particular party,” Chatterjee said after the meeting. He also requested the ECI to conduct ‘mock polls’.
n a quick response, the BSF rubbished the allegation. "BSF is a professional force guarding our international borders with total sincerity and dedication. We have actively checked illegal infiltration and smuggling and brought to the book criminals involved in such activities. The statements given by Partha Chatterjee, Hon'ble Education Minister, and Firhad Hakim, Urban Development Minister of State of West Bengal, levelling allegations against BSF are without any basis and far from any truth. BSF stands firmly committed to its motto -- Jeevan Paryant Kartavya- (duty unto death) at all times" the BSF said in a statement.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “We told the ECI to take all required steps to ensure peaceful elections in Bengal. We demanded that paramilitary forces should be deployed to man the booths while the state police should be deployed outside the booth campus."
The commission that met the DMs and the SPs later in the day asked them to identify the poll trouble-mongers and put them behind the bars. The commission also asked them to keep the air ambulances and helicopters ready for the people in the remote areas. The commission was critical about certain transfers and postings of officials and asked everyone to work impartially, the sources said.
The EC also made it clear that green police and civic volunteers cannot be used for poll-related duty.