Borders sealed off, air surveillance for Thursday’s Bihar poll

Borders sealed off, air surveillance for Thursday’s Bihar poll

Patna: Bihar’s borders with Nepal and West Bengal have been sealed and “unprecedented" security has been put in place to prevent any untoward incident during the first phase of Assembly elections on Thursday in which 47 of 243 constituencies go to polls.

Enumerating the security arrangements for tomorrow’s polls, DGP Neelmani said that the Special Task Force would maintain air surveillance from helicopters, while the mounted police will monitor riverine areas.

He said specially-trained dogs were mobilised on the Indo-Nepal border.

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Elaborating the deployment of the security forces, Neelmani said 85% of booths would be manned by the central para-military forces and armed police personnel from other states, while the Bihar Military Police, District Armed Police and other security forces would guard 15 per cent of polling stations.

Patrolling would be intensified between one polling centre and another, he said.

“Over 45,000 personnel of the central paramilitary forces have been made available by the Centre for peaceful polls," a senior official in the home department said.

Chief electoral officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh said for the first time the Election Commission has introduced live web-cast of voting at 20% of the booths which would be monitored by district election officers, his office and the Election Commission in New Delhi.

The entire process would be video-graphed, he said.

Prominent among the 631 candidates are senior Janata Dal (United) ministers, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Narain Yadav, Renu Kumari, Hari Prasad Sah, Congress nominee Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of incarcerated former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, state Congress chief Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser and Congress candidate Lovely Anand.

The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are contesting all 47 seats. The ruling JD(U) will be contesting 26 seats and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party in 21 seats.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting 31 seats and its ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) 16 seats, while the Communist Party of India(Marxist) has put up candidates at seven seats. Communist Party of India has put up candidates in 11 seats, CPI(ML) in 17 and Nationalist Congress Party in 33 seats.

Around 1.07 crore, including 50.2 lakh women and 3829 service voters, are eligible to exercise their franchise at 10,454 polling centres spread over the constituencies where the commission has plans to use 11968 (CU) and 13760 (BU) Electronic Voting Machines.