LS polls: Paramilitary personnel reach Chennai

Chennai: The first batch of paramilitary forces have arrived in Chennai for Lok Sabha election duty and they will be sent to Tirupur, Trichy, and Salem in the first phase.

On 18 April, Tamilnadu will face election in 40 Parliamentary constituencies and 19 Assembly constituencies (including Puducherry) on a single day. With only 33 days left for the elections, the Election Commission, contesting political parties and State and Central security forces are doing preparations in full swing.

Among the primary objectives of any election is security and as per Election Commission’s directives, paramilitary forces have been brought in for securing the polling booths and to make sure no untoward incidents happen. The first batch of security personnel consisting of four CRPF companies arrived in Chennai via Intercity Express. One company was dispatched to Tirupur and another was sent to Salem today. Two more companies are one their way to Tiruchy and Coimbatore today.

Election Commission authorities say that all over Tamilnadu, high tension polling booths have been recognised and will be given security priority. Based on the requirements, the number of security personnel will be increased or decreased in other areas.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has been issuing new orders daily to conduct fair polling. Today it imposed a limit on the number of people who can accompany a candidate submitting an application for contesting in the general election. Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said, “Only four people are allowed to accompany a candidate submitting his or her application to contest the elections.”

With allegations of ruling parties in the Centre and State using their influence to gain undue advantage before the polls, the Election Commission has also come with fresh instructions that Government guesthouses should be made available to members of opposition parties also and at the same time no member will use government properties or premises for election duties.

Sahoo also commented yesterday that Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s participation in an event in Stella Maris college in the city was within the Model Code of Conduct as the college has voluntarily invited him to interact with students and prior permission was sought.

His response came after the Tamilnadu government had reportedly ordered an inquiry on how a college here gave its approval for the Congress president to interact with its students when the model code of conduct for elections is in force.

NT Bureau