As the movement of polling personnel began early Friday for their respective voting centers, the deployment of a record 1,071 companies of central armed forces was also in place for the 5th phase polling as some 1.12 crore electorate are expected to cast their vote to elect 45 representatives among 319 candidates in six districts of West Bengal.
After the Sitalkuchi incident in the previous phase on April 10 where four people were killed when the CISF opened firing in self defence and to save EVMs from being looted, the Election Commission this time was taking extra precaution to ensure free and fearless voting among the electorate.
Among the total 1.12 crore voters, about 55,80000 are women voters in the six districts of North Pargana Part I, Darjeeling, Nadia Part I, Kalimpong, East Bardhaman Part I and Jalpaiguri.
The ECI, however, would use 853 companies of central armed forces for the 5th phase and rest would be kept in reserve.
69 companies have been deployed at Barasat, 61 in Barackpore, 107 for Basirhat, 46 for Bidhannagar, 68 for Darjeeling, 21 for Kalimpong, 122 for Jalpaiguri,11 for Krishnagar, 155 for East Bardhamanm, 140 for Ranaghat and 53 for Siliguri.
Altogether 15,789 polling booths have been set up and each booth will be manned by an ASI and four armed constables.
The Chief Election Commissioner of West Bengal on Thursday directed officials and all the political parties to ensure strict compliance of the COVID-19 guidelines ahead of the fifth phase of polling.
The officials were asked to ensure that voters maintain at least 2-feet distance at the polling booths in the wae of worsening COVID-19 situation.
The state election also called an party meeting later today to discuss the covid-19 situation in the remaining four phases of poll.