Looking for the safe passage of crucial assembly elections in five states, the Union home ministry is marshalling resources as it called a meeting of the DGPs of these states on Friday to discuss the requirement of the Election Commission for smooth conduct of the polls.
The home ministry is finding it difficult to provide 85,000 security personnel, at least which is the demand of the poll panel. The commission had asked the MHA for one lakh security personnel initially. But the ministry has expressed difficulty in providing such a mammoth number of central security personnel already stretched in internal security duties in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast .
As a first, forty companies (40,000 personnel) from Jammu and Kashmir have been returned to the Centre and are available for deployment during elections. Similarly top cops of the states have also been asked to brainstorm on the actual requirement of central forces in their states. On the outcome of these back to back meetings—first with the EC and then with the DGPs—the MHA will formalise its security blueprint for the forthcoming assembly polls.
"The dates for the elections will be finalised after this exercise," said an MHA official. Crucial states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have to go to polls shortly and their election schedule depends on the MHA providing security forces.