EC seeks 74,000 paramilitary personnel for Anantnag By-Poll

The Election Commission (EC) has asked for 74,000 paramilitary personnel from the Centre for deployment during the Anantnag Lok Sabha by-poll scheduled for May 25.

The Commission has conveyed to the Home Ministry that 740 companies of paramilitary forces should be put at its disposal by May 12, official sources said.

A company comprises around 100 paramilitary personnel.

The demand seemed unprecedented as the poll body had sought 70,000 paramilitary forces for deployment in the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh which has 403 Assembly constituencies and 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Earlier, the Commission had sought 30,000 paramilitary personnel for the by-poll to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats.

While polling in Srinagar was held on April 9 amidst massive violence, polling for Anantnag, which was scheduled for April 12, was postponed till May 25.

Official sources said that in normal circumstances around 10 companies (1,000 personnel) are deployed in a parliamentary seat during polling.

The Home Ministry is likely to tell the EC that it would be difficult to arrange such a large number of security personnel in a short span of time and it may seek more time.

At present, it is in a position to provide around 150 companies, or 15,000 personnel.

There are around 10 lakh paramilitary personnel under the Home Ministry’s command, but it is difficult to assemble them from different parts of the country in such a short notice, a source said.

The PDP, Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition partner, has urged the EC to defer indefinitely the by-poll to the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in the wake of the “volatile situation” prevailing there.

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