Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district are going to be special as residents of 40 Maoist-affected villages here will get a chance to vote for the first time in 40 years.
Earlier, these Maoist-affected villages were so dangerous that it was not possible to conduct polling in them safely.
There are 40 highly Maoist-affected villages where polling booths will be established for voting after 40 years.120 polling stations are being reopened in these villages on Saturday.
After the announcement of an election boycott by the Maoist organisation, the Election Commission started the election process in this area with full vigilance.
In the last five years, more than 60 security force camps have been established in these highly Maoist-affected areas.
After the establishment of the camps, the process of area dominance has been carried out continuously in these areas, and now, according to the police, these areas are so safe that the voting process can be conducted there. For this, the Election Commission has also started the process of training the polling parties.
While speaking about the preparation by the security forces for the upcoming election in Bastar on November 7, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Bastar Division, Sundarraj P, said that the security forces are trying their best to conduct the election process in a systematic manner.
“As everyone knows, voting is to be held in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections on November 7 in all seven districts of the Bastar division. All security arrangements and administration preparations are going on regarding the same arrangement. And we are trying our best to do all kinds of homework to conduct the entire election process in a systematic manner. And we have full hope that this time all the arrangements in the election process will go quite well,” IGP Sundarraj said.
He further added that efforts are being made to re-establish some polling stations that were closed or shifted due to the Maoist problem.
“We will see a significant increase in security in 2023 as compared to the 2018 elections. In view of the same, there are some polling stations that may have been closed in the past due to the Maoist problem or were shifted to the nearest police station or camp. Efforts are being made to re-establish all those polling stations in those villages. About 120 polling stations have been identified, which again has to be done by the entire district administration and police for editing in the village due to a security camp being set up in the same village. And the final will be done in a few days,” Mr Sundarraj said.
“Our endeavour will be to minimise the distance between the voter and the polling stations. So that the maximum number of voters can go to polling centres and cast their vote,” Mr Sundarraj added.
While talking about the number of soldiers being deployed in the area, he said, “For security reasons, we cannot disclose the exact number of soldiers being deployed here. We already have special forces, DRG, STF, Cobra, other central military forces, CRPF, STF, ITBP, and all the security forces available with us. In addition to the local police force, we are allotted additional forces during elections. A detailed security plan has been prepared regarding poll security, and the district administration and local police administration are implementing it.”
“All types of election-related proceedings will be conducted in a very systematic manner. A conference is also organised for the voters in the area. From blockade to area dominance to patrolling arrangements, action is already being taken in the field. And in the coming time, we will edit this system more strongly. So that the election process can be conducted very well and systematically on November 7,” he further added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)