Election Commission special observer, Ajay V Nayak Saturday said the situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 15 years ago and had lead to the voters' demand for deployment of central forces in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police and therefore their demand for deployment of central forces at all polling booths has increased, Nayak, who is the former Bihar chief electoral officer, said.
The situation in Bihar has improved and less number of central forces are required there now, he told newsmen at the office of the West Bengal chief electoral officer in Kolkata.
Nayak, a 1984-batch IAS officer, was recently given the responsibility to oversee the last five phases of polls in West Bengal.
"This situation in West Bengal is similar to what it was in Bihar around 15 years ago. During that time in Bihar total deployment of central forces at the booths was required. Now it is required in West Bengal as the people of West Bengal have lost faith in the state police and are seeking deployment of central forces at all the booths," he told newsmen in the office of the chief electoral officer in Kolkata.
"I cannot understand that if people in Bihar were able to bring in a change in the atmosphere and situation there then why is this not happening in West Bengal," Nayak said in the presence of West Bengal chief electoral officer Ariz Aftab.
He said that in the third phase of polling on April 23, 324 companies of central forces would be deployed to cover more than 92 per cent of the polling booths in five Lok Sabha constituencies.
Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad parliamentary constituencies will go to the polls on April 23.
In the first phase on April 11 central forces were deployed in 51 per cent booths in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar parliamentary constituencies and 194 companies covered 80 per cent of the booths in Raiganj, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri in the second pase on April 18.
In the first phase there were reports of booth capturing, smashing of EVMs and intimidation. Similar incidents were reported in the second phase from Chopra in Darjeeling constituency and also from Islampur in Raiganj constituency. There were also reports of damage to the vehicle of sitting CPI-M MP Mohammed Salim at Raiganj.
Nayak said that no negligence was found after scrutiny of the pollings in the first phase elections and there will be no repoll in the constituencies where voting was held on the day.
The special observer, however, did not dismiss chances of repolling in some booths where polling was held in the second phase.
The EC has appointed Vivek Dubey as the special police observer for the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the EC has transfered Malda superintendent of police Arnab Ghosh and has brought in commanding officer of the second batallion of state armed police Ajoy Prasad in his place.
Sources said that Ghosh, who was reportedly close to the Trinamool Congress administration, was under the EC scanner.
The state BJP had a few days ago urged the EC to remove Ghosh.