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Uttaranchal set for polls amid security

February 20, 2007 18:23 IST

Stringent security arrangements are in place for Wednesday's Uttaranchal assembly elections and Tehri Lok Sabha bypoll in the wake of a 'threat perception' about activities of terrorists and Maoists during the exercise.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have the highest stakes in the elections as 60 lakh voters choose from among over 785 candidates to elect 69 legislators, with Bajpur assembly election countermanded due to the death of Congress candidate Janak Raj Sharma.

The two parties have, however, not declared their chief ministerial candidates apparently as the Congress' N D Tiwari and Harish Rawat opted out of the fray and senior BJP leader B C Khanduri's name only being speculated for the post.

Some 75,000 personnel, including 6,500 Central paramilitary forces, were deployed and security tightened for the polling, Inspector-General (Law and Order) Anil Raturi said.

A total of 7,491 polling stations have been set up with 1,200 declared sensitive and hyper-sensitive and five helicopters used for dropping polling personnel and material in far-flung and snow-bound areas like Namik in Pithoragarh and Bacham, Kilpada, Surat and Badiakot in Kapkot constituency in Bageshwar districts.

"A general alert has already been issued following a threat perception from terrorists and Maoists. Preparations for peaceful and smooth conduct of the polling have been completed," Chief Electoral Officer N Ravishanker said.

The state's borders with Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Rampur, Moradabad, Bareilly and Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh have also been sealed.

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