Bengal relents on Central force for civic polls

A Central force contingent during a route march.
A Central force contingent during a route march.

AFTER MUCH DILLYDALLYING for over a fortnight, West Bengal government has finally relented on the State Election Commission’s (SEC) recommendation for deployment of Central force during the forthcoming civic polls in Bengal.

Sending a communiqué to the SEC, Bengal home secretary Basudev Banerjee has stated that the state government agrees to the poll panel’s proposal for deployment of Central force during the civic polls and the matter was being taken up with the Union government.

The letter was faxed to the SEC office late on Wednesday evening but the poll panel chief Mr Sushanta Ranjan Upadhaya could chance upon it only on Thursday.

The development comes close on the heels of Mr Upadhaya seeking Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi’s intervention on the matter by meeting him at Raj Bhavan on 21 March.

Mr Upadhaya had called on the Governor following a lack of response from the state on its requisition for 50 companies of Central force for the KMC polls on 18 April and the elections in another 91 civic bodies on 25 April.  

This however, does not guarantee the deployment of Central troops during the civic polls. After the state sending a requisition to the Centre, it would entirely rest with the latter to decide whether to grant the Central force and if yes, then what should be the number.

Reacting to the state’s gesture, Mr Upadhaya said on Thursday evening: “it is good that the state government has obliged,” but he would rather wait to see how many companies of Central force is finally made available.

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