4th phase panchayat polls begin in Jharkhand

A total of 597 companies of security forces have been deployed for the fourth of the five-phase Panchayat elections on Monday as most polling booths are situated in Maoist strong-hold.

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2010, 20:22 PM IST

Ranchi: A total of 597 companies of
security forces have been deployed for the fourth of the
five-phase Panchayat elections on Monday as most polling booths
are situated in Maoist strong-hold.

"This phase will see polling being held in more
naxal-affected areas. Strict watch is being maintained ahead
of the polls," Inspector General of Police (Operation), R
K Malik, told a joint press conference along with state
Election Commissioner S D Sharma.

"At the request of some district superintendents of
police, a few polling parties have been air-dropped," he
added.

All the previous three phases of polling had been free
of violence.

Appealing to voters to cast their mandate fearlessly,
the election commissioner said a total of 17,25,298 voters
were eligible to vote for 22,886 candidates who were vying for
members of gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and Zila Parishad,
besides the posts of mukhia.

"We will take strict action against erring polling
officials. We have zero-tolerance to any poll-related error,"
Sharma said.

The commission, he added, had already recommended for
suspension or departmental proceedings against some `erring
polling officials` during the past three phases because
repolling had to be held for their `errors` or `absence`.

PTI