About 12% of the 24,267 polling stations in Assam have been identified as 'critical', making it a challenge for the Election Commission to hold the three-phase elections in the state in a free and fair mode.
Assam Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) S N Singh told PTI that 3000 polling stations have been identified as critical as per the Election Commission's guideline. A polling station is identified 'critical' on the basis of its vulnerability to violence by insurgents or any other disturbing factor like rigging or threat to voters, affecting a free and fair election process, he said.
Official sources said in one of the most elaborate exercises in Assam over 235 companies of security forces from both the state and the Centre have been deployed. 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 last election in 2009.
Over three lakh litres of liquor and Rs 60 lakh cash have been seized in Assam so far by different agencies, the sources said, adding security agencies have also issued over 4,000 non-bailable arrest warrants since the poll notification.
Assam will see three-phase polling starting with Monday when elections will be held in five constituencies. The second and third phases of elections will take place on April 12 and 24.
In the first phase of polling in five constituencies voters will exercise their franchise in 8,588 booths, while the second phase for three seats will be conducted in 3,698 polling stations. In the third phase elections will be held for six Lok Sabha seats in 11,981 election centres in Assam.
With 4.5 lakh first time voters, Assam will see a total of 1.87 crore electorate casting their ballots.