The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI) against its decision to allow people above 65 years of age to cast their votes via postal ballot in the upcoming set of Assembly elections in October-November.
The ECI, on 4 July, had said that those about the age of 65 and under home and institutional quarantine could cast their votes via postal ballot.
Writing on behalf of the TMC, MP and General Secretary of the party, Subrata Bakshi, wrote that the party had "deepest reservations" about the EC's decision.
“This amendment seeks to effectively disenfranchise those above the age of 65 years from exercising their right to vote, while denying them a fair, equal, and reasonable chance to participate in elections. Nearly six percent of the Indian population are aged above 65 years, and this amendment will have far reaching implications on the polity of our country. Further, the said amendment is also permanent in nature rather than a temporary arrangement to deal with the ongoing pandemic.”
The letter further called the decision "discriminatory" stating that since there was no age limit to contesting elections, citizens cannot to be excluded from the mainstream process of conducting elections.
It further called the decision to create a special classification above the age of 65 years as arbitrary stating that many politicians, including the Prime Minister, were above 65 years of age and would find it disconcerting if they could campaign for elections but could not come to the polling booth to cast their vote.
The state of West Bengal goes to polls next year.
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