The Election Commission’s recent decision to change the rules for appointing polling agents has sparked off a debate in West Bengal.
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 the role of a polling agent?
- As per the Election Commission’s rules, 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.
- Towards this end, a polling agent attends the demonstrations arranged by the Returning Officer, where the functioning and operation of these machines are explained.
- As per the new regulations, 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.
- The Trinamool has been opposing the change in rules, calling it “arbitrary, motivated and biased” and has also written to the Election Commission seeking withdrawal of the order
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT