Monday, March 30, 2009

Bihar to provide high security for star campaigners

Patna (PTI): Alarmed by reported threat to some high profile politicians during the campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, the State administration has decided to make special security arrangements at all meeting venues.

"The State police headquarters have issued necessary instructions to Superintendents of Police to chalk out details for the security arrangements to be made for high profile leaders in consultation with their respective district magistrates to ensure trouble-free meetings," official sources said.

Refusing to divulge the names of politicians, they said several leaders were in the "hit-lists of the naxal outfits, terrorists and other law-breakers."

"Though we will be providing required security cover in accordance with their security categories, it is also necessary to tighten security at the places where they are scheduled to hold meetings," sources said.

The special security arrangements were being made following intelligence inputs apprehending attacks on these leaders, they said.

Besides RJD supremo, Lalu Prasad, LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan, other top leaders who are likely to visit Bihar to mobilise support for their party candidates, include Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and its general secretary Rahul Gandhi, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat.

Senior BJP leader Venkaih Naidu had a miraculous escape in the naxal-affected Gaya district during the previous Assembly elections in Bihar.

Mr. Naidu had to escape on the motorcycle of a local party worker to save his life after the naxalites burnt his helicopter soon after it landed at a field under Barachati police station in Gaya district when it ran out of fuel.

Similarly, a Lok Jana Shakthi Party candidate, Rajesh Kumar was killed in an attack by suspected naxalites under Imamganj police station in the same district during the 2005 Assembly polls in Bihar.

Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Ravishankar Prasad was shot at and critically injured, while his party colleague Pramod Mahajan escaped unhurt when an anti-social elements fired at a public meeting at Nokha in Rohtas district during the last Assembly elections, sources recalled.

ADG (Headquarters) Neelmani said all SPs have been asked to provide security to the candidates keeping in view the threat perceptions.

The State administration has identified 19 extremist-infested constituencies and sought four helicopters from the Centre for aerial patrol during the polling in the areas to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls, sources said.

The Election Commission has directed the State officials to deploy central para military forces personnel in all the polling centres in naxalite-hit areas.

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