PANAJI TURNS INTO A FORTRESS
Tight security arrangements in place ahead of Sunday’s bypoll ,Police teams take positions, keep round-the-clock vigil
17th May 2019, 02:00 Hrs
the goan I network
Heightened levels of policing in the capital city has become the most eye-catching feature of Sunday’s bypoll to the prestigious Panaji Assembly seat for which the two main contenders - the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition Congress are employing every possible trick in the book to win.Over the last two weeks or so since campaigning began, the police and the Election Commission authorities have jointly established ‘nakabandi’ posts at 13 different locations in the constituency. Frequent and thorough vehicle checking is being carried out for possible transportation of election goodies at these posts, all of which are manned by half-a-dozen weapon-wielding Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, with one or two local policemen thrown in for assistance.
Campaigning for the Sunday bypoll is to come to a close at 5 pm on Friday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Parmaditya (IPS) told The Goan, that three companies of the CISF have been deployed for policing in the capital city.
Each CISF company comprises of 90 personnel of various ranks and all 270 man the nakabandi check-points on a rotational eight-hour shift basis through the day and night.
“We are taking all precautions pulling all resources available with us,” DIG Parmaditya said. The checking of vehicles and their boot spaces, including of two-wheelers takes place 24x7 at 13 locations, including all the entry points to the city.
The teams at these points, which include an official of the Chief Electoral Officer, Goa (CEO Goa), CISF and Goa policemen, check vehicles and the CEO official video-records the process including boot spaces of the automobiles.
The entry point junction at Neoginagar, Tamdi Mati, St Inez near PWD office, Miramar Circle, Kala Academy and Ribandar are some of the geographical locations where these check-posts have been set up.
Meanwhile, observers say the intensity of policing for the Panaji bypoll has been unprecedented in recent history of elections conducted in the State.
Four elections have been conducted in the past seven years - two general elections (2012 and 2017) and two by-elections (2015 and 2017) - but security arrangements then were hardly on the scale employed presently in Panaji.
“The only parallel to election-related security arrangement being executed in Panaji that can be recalled is the one during the September 2004 bypoll in the now abolished Poinguinim Assembly constituency, when current Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes had switched from Congress to be re-elected as BJP MLA,” a top Goa cadre police officer told The Goan, on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile sources in the CEO’s office confirmed that fears of possible wide-spread distribution of cash in the
bylanes and vulnerable pockets of the Panaji constituency have prompted it raise by several notches the level of policing.
CEO Kunal, IAS, did not respond to calls but another senior official said the call was also taken because the central paramilitary force personnel already deployed for the Lok Sabha and three other bypolls on April 23 were available and at hand.
The BJP has fielded its two-time former Panaji MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar while the Congress has fielded former minister Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate, who quit from the ruling coalition and threw his hat in the ring days after the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar which necessitated the bypoll.
Two other candidates of note in the fray are Valmiki Naik of the Aam Aadmi Party and the former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on behalf of his Goa Suraksha Manch.
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