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Increasing Visibility, Preventing Communal Flare-ups Focus of Delhi Police for MCD Polls

Increasing visibility, preventing the chances of communal flare-ups and checking candidates from “luring voters” by illegal means will be the focus of Delhi Police for civic elections in the national capital.

Elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), spanning 250 wards, are due on December 4. The votes will be counted on December 7.

Noting heightened political posturing ahead of the elections, Special Commissioner (Law and Order) Dependra Pathak said the eight districts under his zone — extending from Singhu to Ghazipur — covered a major chunk of the population in the national capital.

As a result, the area has come under increased focus from various political parties, he said.

“Our policing has focussed on the MCD elections for the last six to eight weeks. There is a focus on routine policing, staying alert and gathering local intelligence. We are collating the information and analysing and strategising the area-wise data…

“We are also analysing the kind of candidates and demographic composition of the area. For instance, if certain areas have more ‘jhuggi jhopri’ (slum) clusters, they become more sensitive,” he told PTI.

Explaining further, he said slum clusters required increased police presence as the voters might be tempted with liquor and there could be chances of miscreants coming from across the border.

The senior official said the areas would be scanned, local issues noted and strategies planned accordingly.

“This process has been going on for the last six to eight weeks. Based on these factors, local and district police have been organising their patrolling pattern and their focus is on gathering information.

If it is a communally sensitive locality, we need to have information from the field on what is brewing in the area. We are also keeping a close watch on gambling and the supply of liquor and drugs,” the senior officer said.

The police will also take action based on data from previous elections on who remained active from which political party and what kind of crimes they had committed, he added.

The police are also keeping tabs on strongrooms where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be stored, counting centres, and polling centres based on their status — whether critical or normal.

Homeguard, paramilitary forces and flying squads will be accordingly deployed and a detailed arrangement has been done, Pathak said.

Senior district-level officers have been asked to stay in the office during the night while SHOs have been directed to attend any call related to gang fights, clashes or issues that might have a communal colour.

The election process and police arrangement is a comprehensive and wholesome exercise and covers pre-, during- and post-election phases.

Police presence is required if two different political parties are coming face to face to avoid clashes or confrontations. Visibility and immediate intervention are required to prevent any situation from going out of hand,” he said, addressing apprehensions over breaches of peace.

Checking of vehicles has gone up and individuals are also being searched to ascertain if any illegal weapon is being carried, he said.

“We have a very detailed police arrangement. Thousands of our personnel, including outside forces, will be deployed for the election process. Five to six companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed in each district to protect the strongrooms. There will be CCTV cameras and 24×7 police presence to check the comings and goings.

On the day of the election, all the booths and premises will be covered as per scale with heavy police presence,” the senior officer said.

He stressed that all guidelines of the Election Commission would be followed and law and order flawlessly maintained to instil “a great element of confidence” among voters.

“We have already spoken to people, members of civil societies, ‘aman committees’, market associations, all office and field formations and owners of small roadside shops. Every area is important to ensure a smooth election,” he said.

Stressing that the role of the police did not end with the elections, Pathak said it was also important to maintain security post counting and celebratory functions.

“To have seamless coordination with the Election Commission and civic agencies involved in the conduct of elections, we are here with a focused role of maintaining law and order and providing a very safe and secure environment.

If anything is going to disturb this, then professional police and legal action will be taken,” Pathak added.

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