45,000 troopers to be deployed for Bihar polls


Patna : With the fear of Maoist violence and trouble by criminal gangs looming large, about 45,000 paramilitary troopers will be deployed to ensure that the Bihar elections beginning Oct 21 proceed peacefully, an official said Friday.

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“There will be heavy deployment of central paramilitary forces for free, fair and peaceful polls,” a senior official in the home department said.

The state government had demanded 600 companies of central paramilitary forces CPMF but the central government agreed to provide 450 companies for the six-phased polls, an official said. Each company comprises 100 personnel.

“The deployment would be done directly under the supervision of the Election Commission on the polling booths,” officials said.

Fearing trouble during the elections, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had demanded deployment of paramilitary forces in all polling booths.

According to the Election Commission’s observation, of the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar, 47 are in 33 Maoist-hit districts. The poll panel has decided to deploy central paramilitary forces and hold polling between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. in these areas.

Violence has marred elections in Bihar several times in the past. Seventy-six people died during the Lok Sabha polls in 1999 and 61 in the 2000 assembly elections, with the fatalities increasing to 191 in the 2001 elections to local and urban bodies.

The situation improved after the Election Commission deployed a special observer, K.J. Rao, to oversee security during the 2004 general elections. About 19 people died during those polls and 27 in the 2005 assembly elections.

The number of casualties dropped to seven in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.