At least 55 police observers and 209 general observers would be deployed in West Bengal to maintain law and order and ensure transparency ahead of the eight-phase Assembly polls beginning March 27, a top source in the state Electoral Officer’s office said on Saturday. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the numbers stood at 31 and 160, respectively.
Before the first phase polls for 30 seats, another 210 companies of central forces would arrive in the state, taking the total to 705, said the source.
Nine expenditure observers each had been appointed for the first phase, second phase (April 1) and third phase (April 6), and 10 observers for the fourth phase (April 10), said an EC official. Total 300 expenditure observers have been appointed against 70 in 2016.
The first phase poll will be spread over Assembly segments in East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura district. Each booth would be manned by the Central forces, said another EC source.
With political violence in the state on the rise since last year, the Election Commission in an unprecedented move had sent a few companies of central forces before the poll dates were announced, for area domination and confidence building in sensitive areas. The ruling party TMC and its main rival BJP have accused each other for violence.