The deployment of security forces for the first three phases of polls in the insurgency and Naxal-hit states has been accomplished even as the first six Parliamentary constituencies go to polls tomorrow.
The forces have already reported to the district electoral offices and have set up their posts and defence mechanisms in these locations and polling booths which will see voting on April 7, 9 and 10 which includes 105 seats in the Northeast, Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand among others. "The inductions have been completed and forces have reached their designated locations. The personnel are drawn from various paramilitary forces and special units of state police departments," CRPF Inspector General (Operations) Zulfiquar Hasan told PTI.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), mainstay for anti-Naxal operations in the country, is the nodal agency for the movement of security forces contingents during polls.
Hasan along with CRPF chief Dilip Trivedi recently toured Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Bihar to oversee the induction of the security forces. "So far the movement of the forces on poll duty have not seen any untoward incident. But we are alive to any situation. Infact, simultaneous operations are already on in various states and border areas to check the activities of Naxals," Hasan said.
Once the polls are over in these first three locations, Hasan said, the contingents, barring a few, will move ahead to provide security in the next phases.
A pooled contingent of close to 1.3 lakh paramilitary and police personnel will be deployed to exclusively cater to election-related duties.
Apart from these, close to 1.2 lakh personnel and special units are already present in the Naxal and militancy affected areas to undertake operations and facilitate smooth movements of these forces across various states.
As per plans, the Union Home Ministry has also pressed into service more than 100 trains to transport the forces for deployment during the elections.
The Ministry has identified 33 worst Naxal-affected districts as being very sensitive with the highest number of incidents having been reported in these areas in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 and also during Assembly polls in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The districts are Khunti, Gumla, Latehar, Simdega, West Singhbhum, Ranchi, Dumka, Giridih, Palamu, Garhwa, Chatra, Lohardaga and Bokaro (all Jharkhand).
Bastar, Bijapur, Sukma, Dantewada, Kanker, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon (all Chhattisgarh), Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui, Muzaffarpur and Lakhisarai (all in Bihar). The districts in Odisha are Malkangiri, Koraput, Nuapada and Bolangir, in Maharashtra it is Gadchiroli along with Vishakhapatnam and Khammam districts in Andhra Pradesh.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held between April 7 and May 12 on nine dates, the highest number of phases for a general elections so far.
Counting of votes for all 543 constituencies will be done on May 16.
Along with the Lok Sabha polls, Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh, including in the Telangana region, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.