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25 highly sensitive polling booths in Mumbai to be heavily guarded

Flying squads will keep an eye on booths before and during polling to keep malpractices at bay; state cops have identified 152 highly sensitive polling booths

The Maharashtra police are ensuring that no stone is left unturned when the state goes to polls this April. State police has identified around 152 highly sensitive polling booths in the state, sources said, of which 25 are in Mumbai.

Nearly 2 lakh state police will be deployed to polling stations, along with 96 SRPF battalions, 8 RAF battalions, 6 CRPF companies, 4 companies of Goa SRPF and four of CISF. Representational pic
Nearly 2 lakh state police will be deployed to polling stations, along with 96 SRPF battalions, 8 RAF battalions, 6 CRPF companies, 4 companies of Goa SRPF and four of CISF. Representational pic

Maharashtra goes to polls in three phases and sources in the police force said around 2 lakh state police, along with Goa police, home guards, the state reserve police force (SRPF), and the central reserve police force (CRPF) would be deployed throughout the polling season. Of the 2 lakh state police, 60,000 will be officers.

Highly sensitive areas
The state police said they are preparing a tight plan for the elections. All leaves of policemen will be cancelled from April 8. In Mumbai, areas like Bandra, Nagpada, Govandi, Dharavi and Bhandup area are listed as highly sensitive areas, where riot-like situations are possible during polling, or bogus voting could take place.

Sources said that areas affected by Naxalites, like Gadchiroli, Gondhia, Bhandara, Chandrapur stand to be the most sensitive booths in the state. Cops shall front the best bandobast for these areas that go to polls on April 10. “Naxalites might create problems during elections.

We have prepared a plan to tackle it,” said a police officer from the Maharashtra Police headquarters. Other sensitive areas include like Bhiwandi, Malegoan, Nashik rural, some parts of Sangli and Thane, and parts of Konkan.

Combining forces
The state police is calling in different forces to aid policing during the elections. “We are getting help from Goa police, which will be sending their four SRPF companies for our polling. Six CRPF companies will also come in, along with four companies of Central Industries Security Force (CISF), eight state Rapid Action Force (RAF) battalions, 96 Maharashtra SRPF battalions,” detailed an officer with the state police. Each battalion comprises 100-120 men and women.

There would be 1,100 new recruits in the SRPF forces, while the state police would be employing 11,600-odd freshly inducted constables. There are around 1,680 sensitive booths, of which 152 are highly sensitive.

State police will have flying squads roaming all around the state to keep an eye on booths before polls, and during voting to ensure candidates don’t indulge in malpractices. Mumbai Police has also declared that it will have squads of 30 policemen, called ‘Beta Squads, which would roam the city.

Area-wise poll schedule
>> April 10: Vidarbha, Akola, Amravati, Nagpur
>> April 17: Nanded, Parbhani, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Shirdi and Pune
>> April 24: Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Palghar, Kalyan, Jalgaon and Nashik

Forces to be deployed
>> Two lakh Maharashtra police personnel
>> 96 Maharashtra SRPF battalions
>> Eight RAF battalions
>> Six CRPF companies
>> Four Goa SRPF companies
>> Four CISF companies
>> 17,000 home guards

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