Of the nine states going to by-elections this month, the Centre has decided to deploy the maximum number of security personnel in Uttar Pradesh, keeping in mind the communal tension prevailing in the state. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be deploying around 21,000 personnel drawn from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in UP.
The move comes after a recent meeting between Election Commission of India (ECI) officials and their MHA counterparts where the contours of security deployment were discussed.
The total number of personnel deployed in the nine poll-bound states is 37,000, more than half of which has been allotted to UP alone. The state has 11 Assembly constituencies and one Parliamentary seat that are going to polls on September 12.
West Bengal, which has seen a rise in clashes between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress, has been given around 3,800 personnel for two Assembly constituencies, Dakshin Basirhat and Chowringhee.
“UP was definitely high on the agenda of both the EC and the MHA. We cannot take any chance with the state as any small incident can lead to a riot-like situation or incite communal tension,” said a senior Ministry official.
The deployment of central forces will be done at the polling booths and the periphery security will be provided by the respective state police. The government has drawn out the strength from BSF, CRPF, CISF and ITBP and put them on poll duty.
“The EC had demanded some 5,000 men for one parliamentary seat in Chhattisgarh but we sanctioned around 600 personnel,” said the official.
Another official said, “We did some reality check and found that the maximum strength was required for UP and WB. Even Gujarat, with 10 seats, including the parliamentary seat vacated by PM Narendra Modi, has been provided around 5,600 men.”
The Lakhipur, Silchar and Jamunamukh Assembly seats in Assam have been sanctioned 1,800 men as against 2,000 demanded by the EC. “The EC had demanded 2,000 men for Rajasthan but we have put 1,600 men on duty,” said the official.