Record number of trooper deployed for Tripura polls

February 21st, 2008 - 8:47 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Agartala, Feb 21 (IANS) A record 60,000 security personnel have been deployed along with air surveillance as Tripura goes to assembly polls Saturday. “About 14,000 poll officials escorted by security forces have left for the 2,391 polling stations across the state,” said G.S.G. Ayyangar, chief electoral officer.

“An aerial surveillances would be done by senior police officers covering all remote places considered to be vulnerable from the extremist point of view, and this exercise by helicopters would go along with the operations on the ground,” police spokesman Nepal Das said.

In all 2.03 million people, about half of them women, are eligible to vote and elect 60 legislators from among the 313 candidates of various political parties.

Of the 313 aspirants, 31 are women and 64 are independents.

“The central government has despatched 20,000 more paramilitary troopers from the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and they have been deployed in the insurgency- and violence-prone areas of the state,” the CEO said.

According to him, of the 2,391 polling stations, 108 polling stations have been categorised as very vulnerable and 550 polling stations as vulnerable in view of militancy and other security related problems.

The Election Commission for the first time has deployed 750 micro observers to assist 60 general observers to oversee the poll preparations.

Terming Saturday’s polls as’model’ elections, the poll panel is deploying modified electronic voting machines (EVM) to check possible malpractices and rigging.

The month-long hectic campaign ended at 4 p.m. with the political parties appealing to the people to cast their votes for their candidates.

National leaders of all political parties, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh and Murli Monohar Joshi and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat addressed rallies.

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