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West Bengal: Chief Electoral Officer allays security concerns of polling officers

By Joymala Bagchi (ANI) | Updated: Apr 09, 2019 01:46 IST

Alipurduar (West Bengal) [India], Apr 8 (ANI): After polling officials staged agitations citing "risk and insecurity", West Bengal's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Astab assured them that the safety and security of presiding and polling officials are given highest priority.
“The security arrangements at polling stations will be under the direct superintendence and control of the Election Commission to ensure safety and security of the presiding and polling officers and all other personnel associated with the election process,” Astab said.
Additional CEO Sanjay Basu told ANI: "Safety and security of the polling staff as well as of the voters is our priority. They (polling officers) are going for such a big task and of course, we are with them. This is our concern. We do not want their morale to be down at all."
The statements have been issued after polling staff in West Bengal said they feared a risk to their lives. They demanded deployment of Central Forces in every polling booth
"Conducting poll is our duty but protecting our life is also our right. If we are not alive how will we do our duty?" a polling officer said on the condition of anonymity.
In a series of agitations polling officials from several districts like Coochbehar,  Alipurduar and Howrah in West Bengal cited apprehensions about performing their duty at polling booths in the Lok Sabha Election, without getting protection from the central forces
Subhanjan Das, District Magistrate, Alipurduar in a press meet said, "Every polling personnel who have been employed for polling duty will have to do his duty. Election Commission (West Bengal) has already given a written press note. If anyone (polling staff) still is not willing to do his duty, stern action will be taken against them."
The Lok Sabha polls for the 42 seats of West Bengal will be held in all the seven phases from April 11 to May 19.
The results will be announced on May 23. (ANI)