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28 Apr 2018

Civic volunteers warm up for poll duty ...Opposition sees benefit for Trinamul from 'political' recruits

SNEHAMOY CHAKRABORTY, TT, Apr 28, 2018, Suri: Around 1.3 lakh civic volunteers will be used in the rural polls, police sources have said, prompting Opposition claims that the deployment of the "political recruits" would benefit Trinamul.

The police brass has approved a set of uniforms - dark blue trousers and light blue bush shirts - for the volunteers.

The uniform will also have a metal shoulder badge with WBCV - West Bengal Civic Volunteer - written on it and a logo on the right arm. A volunteer will also have a dark blue lanyard with a whistle and black belt.

The uniform was finalised at a meeting on March 23 chaired by director-general of state police Surajit Kar Purakayastha

Opposition leaders said the decision on uniforms was taken with an eye on the rural polls.

Ram Chandra Dom, a former MP and CPM central committee member, said: "The state government has planned to field civic volunteers in new uniforms during the polls. Using the volunteers in the polls means the ruling party will benefit as most of them were recruited politically."

The Opposition has already raised the issue of security in poll process in Calcutta High Court, which has directed the state election commission to "allay the grievances".

Police sources said, there were 46,000 armed police personnel in the districts, a number not sufficient to cover all booths.

"If the government wants to conduct the rural polls in one day, there is no option other than using civic volunteers to maintain law and order," a senior police officer said.

Civic volunteers had no specific uniform so far and used to be deployed on traffic duty mainly wearing white T-shirts with 'civic volunteer' written on it.

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