Assam will go for polling next month with presence of over 235 companies of security forces from both the state and Centre.
The security agencies have identified many districts in the state as critical and have decided to increase presence of forces by one to eight companies in each district compared to the 2009 elections.
“We have finalised the plan for security deployment. For the elections in three phases in Assam, we will have a total of at least 235 companies on ground only to manage the polls,” Assam’s Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Ajit Prasad Rout said.
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Out of these, over 100 companies will be from the Assam Police, he said. “We currently have 122 companies of central forces in Assam. From there, 77 companies will be deployed for the elections. In addition, we will get 58 more companies from the Centre,” Rout said.
Of the new companies, ten would be from CISF, 14 from SSB, six from ITBP and 20 companies from the state police forces of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, he said.
Rout said all forces will arrive by today as area allotments, flag march and some other related works need to be completed before the polling starts on April 7. The other two phases of polling in Assam are on April 12 and April 24.
Usually there are 100 personnel in one company, but it may vary in some cases. Asked about security arrangements in the 2009 elections, Rout said, “We had 209 companies of central forces and around 100 companies of the Assam Police. However, it was a two phase election that time.”
He further said this time, each district will be having one to eight more companies of forces for a smooth polling compared to 2009. “Some districts have been identified as critical on account of recent incidents. These include Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and Chirang. We will have more presence in such districts,” the ADG said.
On security threat from militant organisations, Rout said ULFA has gone weaker and hence police has an upper hand. “Militancy in Dima Hasao district has also gone down. Only NDFB is evenly poised. Overall, we are better placed this time,” he added.
During the polling phases, BSF and SSP for Bhutan border will be alerted to keep strict vigil, he said. With 4.5 lakh first time voters, Assam will see a total of 1.87 crore people exercising their rights to elect the representatives during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The number of voters this year constitute 57.25 per cent of Assam’s total population and it has gone up by 13 lakh from 1.74 crore voters in the last Lok Sabha elections of 2009. The elections will be held in 24,275 polling stations across the state, an increase of 28.93 per cent from 18,828 booths in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.