Bengal BJP seeks EC's intervention to stop use of contractual staff in poll duty

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Kolkata, Feb 20 (PTI) The BJP's West Bengal unit on Saturday sought the intervention of the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to ensure that contractual staff and civic volunteers are not assigned poll duties as it will not be possible to hold them accountable if something goes wrong.

In a letter to the CEO, the saffron party has argued that since contractual staffs are not regular government employees, in case of any complaint against them, there will be no scope of any recourse.

To ensure free and fair poll, the Election Commission must prevent the state government from 'misusing' central forces by deploying them only in cities and along highways, instead of sensitive zones, the BJP said in the letter written by Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta and state leader Shishir Bajoria.

'It has come to our notice that contractual staff have been registered at district level, as Group D staff, to perform the function of polling officers in the forthcoming assembly elections.

'This step is highly irregular, as these are not regular government employees and hence are not answerable to anyone. In the event of any complaint against them, there will be no scope of any recourse,' the letter said.

No such contractual staff should be engaged in any poll-related duty, it said.

'If there is a shortage of polling officers, the Election Commission may requisition polling officers from neighbouring states to ensure free and fair polls,' the letter said.

Media reports suggest that allotment of central paramilitary forces will be made in such a manner that will serve the best interests of the ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJPs letter said.

'There will be no point served if the central forces are made to make route marches in national and state highways and are kept away from sensitive areas,' the letter said.

Assembly election is likely to be held in the state in April-May. PTI PNT NN NN