Indian Express

Election Commission gears up for the sixth and final phase of polls in Bihar

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 In this phase, around 90.5 lakh voters will decide the fate of 90 candidates.
In this phase, around 90.5 lakh voters will decide the fate of 90 candidates.

The Election Commission (EC) on Saturay started despatching 45,060 polling personnel to ensure smooth conduct of the sixth and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in Bihar on May 12.

They will carry Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) to 8,852 polling stations at 6,501 locations spread over Valmiki Nagar, East Champaran, West Champaran, Gopalganj (SC), Siwan,  and Vaishali parliamentary constituencies, which will see voting in this phase, official sources said.

The EC has identified 2,180 vulnerable hamlets and 3,393 sensitive or critical polling stations during this phase. It is making special arrangements to ensure that the voters are able to cast their votes in a free and fair manner, sources said.

“Altogether 1,931 micro observers have been sent across the six parliamentary constituencies. They will take special care of the vulnerable hamlets. Video cameras have been deployed at 522 polling stations, while digital cameras will be used at 906 polling stations to keep a record of the conditions of voting,” K K Upadhyaya, Deputy Director (Public Relations and Media) told reporters.

Live webcast of voting will be done from 266 polling stations during this phase. The EC has already made elaborate security arrangements by deploying 58,000 personnel from various Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) and state forces, sources said.

In this phase, around 90.5 lakh voters will decide the fate of 90 candidates.  Gopalganj (SC) has the maximum number of voters at 16.51 lakh, while Vaishali has the maximum number of 22 candidates.

EC officials said two helicopters, seven companies of mounted police, 36 motorboats and 370 motorcycle borne security personnel will be pressed into service on the poll day to facilitate free, fair and peaceful polling.

Of the 36 assembly segments that make the six parliamentary constituencies, five are affected by Maoist violence. Some of the constituencies have vast expanse of ‘diara’ (riverine) land and the security arrangements will take special care of such areas.

In its efforts to ensure peaceful elections, the flying squads, static surveillance teams, as well as, police and excise teams constituted by the EC have seized over Rs  6.34 crore unaccounted cash, 3.22 lakh litres of illicit liquor and 206 kilograms of ganja.

Altogether 731 firearms, 2,364 cartridges, 276 bombs, and 1,311 kilograms of explosives have been recovered from the six poll bound constituencies.

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