NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move, nearly 700 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), comprising 70,000 personnel, will be deployed for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, top government sources said.
These forces will include over 150 companies each from Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and other CAPFs.
A total of 162 companies, (approximately 16,200 personnel), of the CAPFs have already been deployed and the remaining forces will be deputed by the third week of this month, a source told ANI, requesting anonymity.
The decisions have been taken by the Ministry Of Home Affairs (MHA) and an internal circular is expected to be moved very soon directing these CAPFs to deploy their forces, said the source, privy to the development, adding "this is an unprecedented deployment of paramilitary (or CAPFs) forces in Gujarat assembly polls ever so far".
"The decision to deploy such a huge number of CAPF personnel during Gujarat Assembly elections is to ensure fair and incident-free polls," said another official.
Last year, over 320 companies (nearly 32,000 personnel) of CAPF were deputed for the Gujarat Assembly elections. The assembly elections in the state will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5, and the results will be declared on December 8.
Of the 182 seats in the legislative Assembly, 89 will go to polls in the first phase and 93 in the second. Over 4.9 crore electors are eligible to vote in the polls.
More than 51,000 polling stations will be set up, including more than 34,000 in rural areas. The term of the Gujarat Assembly ends on February 18, 2023. The high-stakes poll battle is seeing a contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also seeking to put up a strong contest.
The BJP has been in power in the state -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state -- for over two decades. In the last election in 2017, the BJP won 99 seats, while the Congress won 77, winning 49.05 per cent and 42.97 per cent of the votes, respectively.
Over the years, the Congress' tally reduced to 62, while the BJP's increased to 111.