TMC delegation asks EC to bring back rule which allowed parties to appoint only locals as poll booth agents

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Kolkata, Mar 26 (PTI) A Trinamool Congress delegation, led by MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on Saturday urged the Election Commission to bring back the rule which enjoined upon political parties to appoint only people, registered as voters in an assembly segment where an election booth was located, as polling agents for that booth.

The rule had been relaxed last week to allow agents to be appointed from any part of an assembly constituency.

Bandyopadhyay told reporters after meeting Chief Electoral officer Aariz Aftab that only locals, living in the assembly segment where the booth was located should be appointed as polling agents by parties 'as was the practice earlier.' 'After representations by BJP, the Election Commission has changed the long established tradition of asking parties to have polling agents from the same locality and this has caused a lot of problems in the booths in the first phase as many of the agents don't even know each other,' he said.

The TMC has hence urged CEO to revert to the earlier practice of having polling agents of the same locality which will also minimise the chance of discrepancies and ensure fair polling in the remaining seven phases, he added.

To a question on EC reaction to TMC's demands, Bandyopadhyay said 'the CEO listened to our points. But did not say much.' Asked if he expected a favourable response from EC, he said 'our job is to point out issues to them. We believe in democratic traditions.' Reacting to claims by BJP that TMC is scared of the outcome as it is fast losing support, Bandyopadhyay said 'after May 2 it will be amply clear who the populace prefers.' PTI SUS JRC JRC