Odisha requires more central force for rural polls: SEC

Bhubaneswar, Jan 4 (PTI) With Maoist influence being experienced in 12 of the 30 districts of Odisha, the State Election Commission (SEC) today said central para-military force (CPMF) need to be deployed in certain highly sensitive areas for conduct of smooth rural polls next month. “The state government will take up the matter relating to requirement of CPMF with the centre. The state’s elite anti-naxal force like special operation group (SOG) and newly raised battalions will be deployed for conduct of smooth polling,” said state election commissioner A K Tripathy. Tripathy, who reviewed law and order situation at a conference of district collectors and superintendents of police, attended by Director General of Police (DGP) and home secretary, said all steps would be taken to ensure free and fair elections to the three tier panchayat bodies scheduled to be held in five phases from February 5 to 19. Some of the collectors and SPs apprised the SEC about inaccessibility of certain areas and expressed fear of Maoist attack on the polling personnel and ballot boxes. “The SEC is considering use of helicopter for movement of poll personnel to inaccessible areas,” a senior official said adding that the ballot boxes in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LEW) could be stored in different police camps.

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