2019 elections: Chennai police slog it out for counting of votes

File photo of policemen at Loyola College counting centre.

Chennai: With just two days left for the declaration of election results, the whole city is glued to television sets to follow the vote counting process, security being an integral part of the exercise, the city policemen are on their toes.

As many as 500 policemen have been put on duty at the counting centres across the city for the past few days.

They underwent special training to understand the process of counting and election result declaration. A sub-inspector of police said on 20 May they had an oath-taking ceremony and a model counting exercise also took place a week ago.

“We took an oath to keep the secrets and not share them with outsiders. We also promised to stay within the centre premises and perform justice to our duty,” he said.

The policemen were also part of the exercise to set up the counting centres.

“Some centres are small with just 14 tables, that is, 14 ballot boxes. But at places like Shollinganallur which is a bigger constituency, it will have 30 tables. Fourteen persons will be counting one box at a time,” a sub-inspector on duty said.

The centres have come under strict vigilance. Even police vehicles are not allowed inside. “The policemen are not allowed into the premises wearing belts, and phones are banned in this zone,” he said.

So what challenges do they face? “Our main work is to provide security, the situations thrown at us could be anything, including theft of a box.”

Tahsildar, assistant commissioner of police, officials of Corporation department, electrical department and fire and rescue service personnel are allowed inside.

Each centre is provided with 25 policemen led by two inspectors and three assistant commissioners work on shifts.

Another police official on duty at Loyola College said, “So far, the process is going on peacefully. The centres are visited by its tahsildar to check the arrangements.”

Members of armed reserve, CRPF and Swift Action Force (SAF) and Intelligence section police are posted for duty.

The two Intelligence policemen submit daily reports to the City Commissioner about the security detail, he said.

Naomi N