The elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (autonomous body to administer Darjeeling hills) and the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad scheduled on June 26 will be held under the security of the State Armed Police, the West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) said on Saturday.
According to a senior state election commission official, holding a free, fair and peaceful election is their top priority.
The decision was taken after holding a meeting with the state police on the security arrangements. According to sources, it was also discussed how the state police would be utilised in the upcoming elections. “Focus has been laid on area domination and setting up naka checking points. Besides state armed police, combat forces and RAF will also be used,” the official said.
On the same day, bypolls will be held in various wards in several civic bodies like the Jhalda Municipality, Dum Dum Municipality, Chandannagar Municipal Corporation, Panihati Municipality, Bhatpara Municipality and South Dum Dum Municipality. The GTA was formed in 2011 to govern Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, and some mouzas in the Siliguri subdivision. The GTA election was last held in 2012. According to the government, the 2017 agitation and the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow it to hold elections.
There are 45 elected members in the GTA Sabha, while the Governor nominates five. The GJM, the biggest hill party, had then swept the GTA elections winning all the seats.