A total of 725 groups of the central forces' personnel will be deployed for pre-poll duties in West Bengal state ahead of the upcoming legislative assembly elections, India's Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) Director General Kuldiep Singh said on Thursday. Each group generally comprises 100 men.
The announcement comes ahead of the assembly elections in the volatile state of West Bengal, which has been witnessing continuous clashes between workers and supporters of the governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) party and its main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Clashes were reported on Thursday between the TMC and its arch-rival BJP supporters.
According to local media reports, the conflict erupted between the two rival parties' activists while Nandigram town's BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari and federal minister Dharmendra Pradhan were holding a door-to-door election campaign.
On Wednesday night, three people, including a child, were reportedly injured after multiple pipe bombs were thrown at different locations in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.
Out of the 725 companies, 415 have already reached the state, the newly-appointed director general said.
The eight-phase elections for the West Bengal state legislative assembly are scheduled to be held from 27 March to 29 April across 101,916 polling stations.
The counting of votes will take place on 2 May. The state has approximately 65 million voters.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission held a meeting with observers appointed for election duty. The briefing session saw the participation of over 1,600 observers focused on election planning and security management.
According to the senior official, the central forces are aimed to be deployed for area domination, especially in sensitive zones, with the assistance of state police and senior district administration officials.