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Explained: What Are The EC’s New Rule For Polling Agents And Why TMC Is Against It

Calling it ‘arbitrary, motivated and biased,’ the Trinamool has been opposing the change in rules and has also written to the Election Commission seeking withdrawal of the order.

Explained: What Are The EC’s New Rule For Polling Agents And Why TMC Is Against It
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Explained: What Are The EC’s New Rule For Polling Agents And Why TMC Is Against It
outlookindia.com
2021-03-31T07:48:41+05:30

The Election Commission’s new regulations states that a political party can now nominate a polling agent for any booth within the assembly segment he/she is a voter from. Earlier, the polling agent had to be a voter of the booth or an adjoining booth that he/she is working at.

Calling it ‘arbitrary, motivated and biased,’ the Trinamool has been opposing the change in rules and has also written to the Election Commission seeking withdrawal of the order. The BJP, on the other hand, has been supporting the move saying it ensures free and fair elections.

Who is a polling agent?

A polling agent is a person appointed as a representative of a political party as it is not possible for a candidate to be physically present at every polling booth on the day of the elections. Therefore, the Election Commission allows a candidate to appoint a polling agent who keeps an eye on the voting process.

What is his/her role?

A polling agent should be familiar with the rules and procedures to conduct elections using EVMs and VVPATs, and with the working of these machines, the Election Commission stated. A polling agent attends the demonstrations arranged by the Returning Officer, where the functioning and operation of these machines are explained.

How are they selected earlier?

As per the earlier practice, polling agents had to be voters of the same polling stations or at least the neighbouring polling stations of the booth where she has been posted at.

What does the new rule say? 

Any voter from within an Assembly constituency can be a polling agent of any booth within that constituency. The Election Commission of India has allowed a party to nominate a polling agent for any booth within the assembly segment where the person is an electorate.

What is Trinamool’s objection?

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has alleged that the poll body has formulated the new rule to favour the BJP. “It has been implemented to help certain political parties, namely the Bharatiya Janata Party as they do not have enough organisational strength to appoint polling agents for every booth,” the letter sent by TMC to the Election Commission on March 26 read.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party also said that the new instructions were formed with “mala fide intentions”.

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