Taking a lesson from the fourth phase, the Election Commission of India has decided to deploy 853 companies of central forces for the fifth phase when 45 constituencies spread across six districts will go for the polls on April 17. This will be the highest force concentration in this election, outnumbering the fourth phase when the Commission deployed 789 companies for 44 assembly constituencies.

Sources in the Commission said that of the 853 companies, 283 will be deployed only in North 24 Parganas district with 107 companies in Basirhat police district, 61 companies in Barrackpore police commissionerate, 46 companies in Bidhannagar police commissionerate and the rest 69 companies in Barasat police district.

In addition to this, the EC has decided to deploy 68 companies in Darjeeling, 112 companies in Jalpaiguri, 21 companies in Kalimpong, 151 companies in Nadia district, 155 companies in East Burdwan district and 53 companies in Siliguri district.

In the fifth phase there will be elections in six districts including 16 constituencies in North 24 parganas district, 8 constituencies in Nadia district, 8 constituencies in East Burdwan district, 7 constituencies in Jalpaiguri district, 5 constituencies in Darjeeling and 1 in Kalimpong district. “There will be an election in 15789 booths spread across 45 constituencies in six districts. The commission has decided to deploy 853 companies for the purpose with a concentration of nearly 6 personnel per booth. This is the highest concentration of force in this election and this is done with an intention that there is no more repetition of the Coochbehar incident,” a senior official at the CEO office in the state said.

With the additional force of 200 companies reaching the state after the end of Assam election there are presently 1071 companies of central force in the state. “Apart from the 853 companies the rest of the 218 companies of forces will be mainly used for the guarding of the strong room and maintaining the law-and-order situation in the non-polling areas,” the official added.

The EC has also decided to deploy 932 CAPF companies in the sixth phase on April 22, when 43 assembly constituencies across four districts will vote. The EC has further directed deployment of 760 and 715 companies, respectively, during the seventh and eight phases. Phase 7 will see 36 assembly constituencies go to polls while voters in 35 seats will exercise their franchise in phase 8.