EC team in West Bengal to oversee poll preparedness

The Election Commission of India (EC) has started taking stock of the poll preparedness in West Bengal for the crucial 2021 state assembly elections.

A team of the poll panel led by deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain arrived in Kolkata on Wednesday and is likely to meet some of senior IAS and IPS officers including the district magistrates, superintendents of police and police commissioners in various districts of south and north Bengal over the next two days.

As polls are expected to be held during pandemic, the state’s health secretary and home secretary are also likely to brief the team about the preparedness.

“An EC team has come from Delhi. The team would be taking stock of the poll preparedness and holding meetings with bureaucrats and police officials. They are also likely to meet representatives of political parties in the state,” said a senior officer of the poll panel.

Meanwhile, the poll panel has also started the process of checking all 78,000-odd polling booths across the state to provide assured minimum facilities, such as toilets, drinking water and ramps, on the polling day.

Earlier this week, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party from West Bengal met the chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, requesting early deployment of Central police forces and enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct to avoid widespread political violence during the campaign period.

The state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, however, has rubbished the fears. “It is only after this team goes back and submits a report that we are expecting the EC’s full panel to come to the state,” said a senior officer.

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